Millikan and Her Critics offers a unique critical discussion of Ruth Millikan's highly regarded, influential, and systematic contributions to philosophy of mind and language, philosophy of biology, epistemology, and metaphysics. These newly written contributions present discussion from some of the most important philosophers in the field today and include replies from Millikan herself.
Achieving genuine engagement and understanding between communities with radically divergent worldviews is challenging. If there is no common ground on which to stand and have a discussion, the likely outcomes of an apparent intercultural disagreement are a stalemate, or the (sometimes colonialist) imposition of a single worldview, or a kind of relativistic tolerance that falls short of genuine engagement. In this paper, we suggest a way forward that takes as its starting point the philosophical discussion of deep disagreement, using the (...) example of taniwha (powerful water beings that must be treated with respect) to outline a strategy for building intercultural understanding and enabling constructive intercultural dialogue. (shrink)
Are learning processes selection processes? This paper takes a slightly modified version of the account of selection presented in Hull et al. (Behav Brain Sci 24:511–527, 2001) and asks whether it applies to learning processes. The answer is that although some learning processes are selectional, many are not. This has consequences for teleological theories of mental content. According to these theories, mental states have content in virtue of having proper functions, and they have proper functions in virtue of being the (...) products of selection processes. For some mental states, it is plausible that the relevant selection process is natural selection, but there are many for which it is not plausible. One response to this (due to David Papineau) is to suggest that the learning processes by which we acquire non-innate mental states are selection processes and can therefore confer proper functions on mental states. This paper considers two ways in which this response could be elaborated, and argues that neither of them succeed: the teleosemanticist cannot rely on the claim that learning processes are selection processes in order to justify the attribution of proper functions to beliefs. (shrink)
Taniwha are powerful water creatures in te ao Māori (the Māori world/worldview). Taniwha sometimes affect public works in Aotearoa New Zealand: for example, consultation between government agencies and tangata whenua (the people of the land) about proposed roading developments sometimes results in the route being moved to avoid the dwelling place of a taniwha. Mainstream media responses have tended to be hostile or mocking, as you might expect, since on the face of it the dominant western scientific worldview has no (...) place for beings like taniwha. However, in the 2020s, there appears to be an increased willingness to engage with te ao Māori. In this spirit, this paper proposes a way for non-Māori to begin to take taniwha more seriously, taking as its starting point the work of Dan Hikuroa on the practical usefulness of taniwha pūrākau (traditional narratives) in encoding information about natural hazards. The focus of this paper is narrow, but aspects of the strategy it proposes may be generalisable both to other aspects of te ao Māori and to other bicultural and multicultural contexts. (shrink)
Ruth Millikan’s teleological theory of mental content is complex and often misunderstood. This paper motivates and clarifies some of the complexities of the theory, and shows that paying careful attention to its details yields answers to a number of common objections to teleological theories, in particular, the problem of novel mental states, the problem of functionally false beliefs, and problems about indeterminacy or multiplicity of function.
Science is our best way of finding out about the natural world, and philosophers who write about that world ought to be sensitive to the claims of our best science. There are obstacles, however, to outsiders using science well. We think philosophers are prone to misuse science: to give undue weight to results that are untested; to highlight favorable and ignore unfavorable data; to give illegitimate weight to the authority of science; to leap from scientific premises to philosophical conclusions without (...) spelling out their relevance; to treat mere resonance between a scientific theory and a philosophical view as empirical evidence for the philosophical view. This article identifies and illustrates some of the ways in which philosophers misuse science, explains why these pitfalls are easy to fall into, and concludes with suggestions for avoiding them. (shrink)
In this paper we consider the prospects for an account of good argument that takes the character of the arguer into consideration. We conclude that although there is much to be gained by identifying the virtues of the good arguer and by considering the ways in which these virtues can be developed in ourselves and in others, virtue argumentation theory does not offer a plausible alternative definition of good argument.
To have the burden of proof is to be rationally required to argue for or provide evidence for your position. To have a heavier burden than an opponent is to be rationally required to provide better evidence or better arguments than they are required to provide. Many commentators suggest that differential or uneven distribution of the burden of proof is ubiquitous. In reasoned discourse, the idea goes, it is almost always the case that one party must prove the claim at (...) issue to prevent the opposing view winning by default. The following passage is typical of the sort of thing one finds in critical thinking textbooks. (shrink)
The California Critical Thinking Dispositions Inventory is a commonly used tool for measuring critical thinking dispositions. However, research on the efficacy of the CCTDI in predicting good thinking about students’ own deeply held beliefs is scant. In this paper we report on preliminary results from our ongoing study designed to gauge the usefulness of the CCTDI in this context.
In this paper we argue that while a full-blown virtue-theoretical account of argumentation is implausible, there is scope for augmenting a conventional account of argument by taking a character-oriented turn. We then discuss the characteristics of the good epistemic citizen, and consider approaches to nurturing these characteristics in critical thinking students, in the hope of addressing the problem of lack of transfer of critical thinking skills to the world outside the classroom.
Denis Dutton’s The Art Instinct succeeds admirably in showing that it is possible to think about art from a biological point of view, and this is a significant achievement, given that resistance to the idea that cultural phenomena have biological underpinnings remains widespread in many academic disciplines. However, his account of the origins of our artistic impulses and the far-reaching conclusions he draws from that account are not persuasive. This article points out a number of problems: in particular, problems with (...) Dutton’s appeal to sexual selection, with his discussion of the adaptation/by-product distinction and its significance, and with drawing normative conclusions from evolutionary hypotheses. (shrink)
, Derek Matravers defends a new version of the arousal theory of musical expressiveness. In this paper it is argued that for various reasons, including especially what the theory implies about the inappropriateness of certain kinds of response to music, we should reject Matravers's theory in favour of some form of cognitivism.
Book Information A Philosophy of Mass Art. A Philosophy of Mass Art Noël Carroll Oxford Clarendon Press 1998 x + 425 Paperback Aus.$45.00 By Noël Carroll. Clarendon Press. Oxford. Pp. x + 425. Paperback:Aus.$45.00.
Part of the job of the philosophy teacher, and in particular the critical thinking teacher, is to encourage students to critically examine their own beliefs. There are some beliefs that are difficult to think critically about, even for those who have critical thinking skills and are committed to applying them to their own beliefs. These resistant beliefs are not all of a kind, and so a range of different strategies may be needed to get students to think critically about them. (...) In this paper we suggest some such strategies. (shrink)
This essay reviews a collection of thirteen critical essays on the work of Ruth Millikan. The collection covers a broad range of her work, focusing in particular on her account of simple intentionality, her theory of concepts and her metaphysical views. I highlight and briefly discuss three issues that crop up repeatedly though the collection: (1) Millikan’s externalism (and in particular, her emphasis on how intentional states are used, rather than how they are produced); (2) the nature of intentional explanation; (...) and (3) the normativity of meaning. (shrink)
In “Taking Taniwha seriously,” JustineKingsbury proposes a way for taniwha pūrākau—traditional narratives about taniwha—to be taken seriously by non-Māori, which is one step towards respecting te ao Māori—the Māori world view. Taniwha are powerful water creatures who act deliberately to protect and sometimes punish humans. So characterised, there is an obvious obstacle to those who wish to respect te ao Māori but who are sceptical about the existence of supernatural entities. Kingsbury proposes a way to take (...) taniwha discourse seriously, but not literally. I agree that her view is realist, and that it overcomes the obstacle noted above. I argue in this paper that her approach ought to be considered an instance of what I call neutral realism, and that when we characterise it this way, we can see precisely how it enables the sort of intercultural respect that she seeks. (shrink)
Many philosophical naturalists eschew analysis in favor of discovering metaphysical truths from the a posteriori, contending that analysis does not lead to philosophical insight. A countercurrent to this approach seeks to reconcile a certain account of conceptual analysis with philosophical naturalism; prominent and influential proponents of this methodology include the late David Lewis, Frank Jackson, Michael Smith, Philip Pettit, and David Armstrong. Naturalistic analysis is a tool for locating in the scientifically given world objects and properties we quantify over in (...) everyday discourse. This collection gathers work from a range of prominent philosophers who are working within this tradition, offering important new work as well as critical evaluations of the methodology. Its centerpiece is an important posthumous paper by David Lewis, "Ramseyan Humility," published here for the first time. The contributors first address issues of philosophy of mind, semantics, and the new methodology's a priori character, then turn to matters of metaphysics, and finally consider problems regarding normativity. Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism is one of the first efforts to apply this approach to such a wide range of philosophical issues. _Contributors: _David Braddon-Mitchell, Mark Colyvan, Frank Jackson, JustineKingsbury, Fred Kroon, David Lewis, Dustin Locke, Kelby Mason, Jonathan McKeown-Green, Peter Menzies, Robert Nola, Daniel Nolan, Philip Pettit, Huw Price, Denis Robinson, Steve Stich, Daniel Stoljar The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket. (shrink)
Merold Westphal’s new publication, Kierkegaard’s Concept of Faith, gives us an opportunity to explore the many ways in which Kierkegaard has influenced Westphal’s thinking as a whole. This present contribution seeks to show how Kierkegaard helps Westphal discover a concept of faith which holds no ‘reasonable’ foundation as it is entirely dependent upon two different aspects of revelation in tension with each other. Moreover, faith is seen as a willing assent by the believer, and thus it becomes a task and (...) not merely a proposition to behold or to which one’s life conforms. In addition to explicating this notion of faith within his work, this present contribution seeks to situate this faith within Westphal’s philosophy of religion, showing how it is integral to Westphal’s entire project. (shrink)
Abstractabstract:When the writings of Nancy Kingsbury Wollstonecraft surfaced in 2019, having been almost wholly neglected by scholars since their publication in the 1820s, they invited an inevitable and tantalizing comparison with her far more famous sister-in-law, Mary Wollstonecraft, especially since Kingsbury had written an article on "The Natural Rights of Woman." Irrespective of the Wollstonecraft connection, however, Kingsbury's writing stands on its own merits as deserving of serious scholarship by historians of women in philosophy. Nevertheless, reading (...) class='Hi'>Kingsbury in the light of her predecessor is highly instructive and helps both bring out what is distinctive about her conclusions and place her in the context of post-Wollstonecraftian thought in the nineteenth century. Kingsbury draws on a similar set of foundational principles as Wollstonecraft, which I place within the republican tradition of political philosophy—freedom, equality, virtue, the common good. Together, these make up an ideal of freedom as independence. Focusing on the issue of education, she argues that increasing women's access to education will do little to improve their intellectual development unless there is an accompanying and extensive restructuring of social and economic norms. In applying the logic of freedom as independence, Kingsbury takes further this aspect of Wollstonecraft's thought and anticipates and prefigures some of the later arguments of feminists and abolitionists writing in the same tradition, including especially Frederick Douglass. (shrink)
The biological functions debate is a perennial topic in the philosophy of science. In the first full-length account of the nature and importance of biological functions for many years, Justin Garson presents an innovative new theory, the 'generalized selected effects theory of function', which seamlessly integrates evolutionary and developmental perspectives on biological functions. He develops the implications of the theory for contemporary debates in the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of medicine and psychiatry, the philosophy of biology, and biology itself, (...) addressing issues ranging from the nature of mental representation to our understanding of the function of the human genome. Clear, jargon-free, and engagingly written, with accessible examples and explanatory diagrams to illustrate the discussion, his book will be highly valuable for readers across philosophical and scientific disciplines. (shrink)
Justin Snedegar develops and defends contrastivism about reasons. This is the view that normative reasons are fundamentally reasons for or against actions or attitudes only relative to sets of alternatives. Simply put, reasons are always reasons to do one thing rather than another, instead of simply being reasons to do something, full stop.
For some, biology explains all there is to know about the mind. Yet many big questions remain: is the mind shaped by genes or the environment? If mental traits are the result of adaptations built up over thousands of years, as evolutionary psychologists claim, how can such claims be tested? If the mind is a machine, as biologists argue, how does it allow for something as complex as human consciousness? The Biological Mind: A Philosophical Introduction explores these questions and more, (...) using the philosophy of biology to introduce and assess the nature of the mind. Drawing on the four key themes of evolutionary biology; molecular biology and genetics; neuroscience; and biomedicine and psychiatry Justin Garson addresses the following key topics: moral psychology, altruism and levels of selection evolutionary psychology and modularity genes, environment and the nature-nurture debate neuroscience, reductionism and the relation between biology and free will function, selection and mental representation psychiatric classification and the maladapted mind. Extensive use of examples and case studies is made throughout the book, and additional features such as chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary make this an indispensable introduction to those teaching philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology. It will also be an excellent resource for those in related fields such as biology. (shrink)
Although the counterfactual comparative account of harm, according to which someone is harmed when things go worse for her than they otherwise would have, is intuitively plausible, it has recently come under attack. There are five serious objections in the literature: some philosophers argue that the counterfactual account makes it hard to see how we could harm someone in the course of benefitting that person; others argue that Parfit’s non-identity problem is particularly problematic; another objection claims that the account forces (...) us to see many harms where there is just one; a fourth objection is based on the claim that the counterfactual account makes mysterious the distinction between harms and mere failures-to-benefit; and a final problem arises from cases of pre-emption, in which the nearest possible world in which the harmful event does not occur is a world in which some other harmful event occurs. This paper argues that, properly understood, harm essentially involves a counterfactual comparison, and that these comparisons are sensitive to context in the manner typical of counterfactual conditionals, and that, augmented with two plausible distinctions, this account has the resources to provide satisfying responses to each of the objections that have been raised against it. (shrink)
Despite its small stature, "if" occupies a central place both in everyday language and the philosophical lexicon. In allowing us to talk about hypothetical situations, "if" raises a host of thorny philosophical puzzles about language and logic. Addressing them requires tools from linguistics, logic, probability theory, and metaphysics. Justin Khoo uses these tools to navigate a maze of interconnected issues about conditionals, some of which include: the nature of linguistic communication, the relationship between logical and natural languages, and the relationship (...) between different kinds of modality. According to Khoo's theory, conditionals form a unified class of expressions which share a common semantic core that encodes inferential dispositions. Thus, rather than represent the world, conditionals are devices used to communicate how we are disposed to infer. Khoo shows that this theory can be extended to predict the probabilities of conditionals, as well as how different kinds of conditionals differ both semantically and pragmatically. Khoo's book will make for a significant contribution to the literature on conditionals and should be of interest to philosophers, linguists, and computer scientists. (shrink)
Professionals, it is said, have no use for simple lists of virtues and vices. The complexities and constraints of professional roles create peculiar moral demands on the people who occupy them, and traits that are vices in ordinary life are praised as virtues in the context of professional roles. Should this disturb us, or is it naive to presume that things should be otherwise? Taking medical and legal practice as key examples, Justin Oakley and Dean Cocking develop a rigorous articulation (...) and defence of virtue ethics, contrasting it with other types of character-based ethical theories and showing that it offers a promising new approach to the ethics of professional roles. They provide insights into the central notions of professional detachment, professional integrity, and moral character in professional life, and demonstrate how a virtue-based approach can help us better understand what ethical professional-client relationships would be like. (shrink)
Spinoza's Political Psychology advances a novel, comprehensive interpretation of Spinoza's political writings, exploring how his analysis of psychology informs his arguments for democracy and toleration. Justin Steinberg shows how Spinoza's political method resembles the Renaissance civic humanism in its view of governance as an adaptive craft that requires psychological attunement. He examines the ways that Spinoza deploys this realist method in the service of empowerment, suggesting that the state can affectively reorient and thereby liberate its citizens, but only if it (...) attends to their actual motivational and epistemic capacities. His book will interest a range of readers in Spinoza studies and the history of political thought, as well as readers working in contemporary political theory. (shrink)
Benedict de Spinoza is one of the most controversial and enigmatic thinkers in the history of philosophy. His greatest work, Ethics (1677), developed a comprehensive philosophical system and argued that God and Nature are identical. His scandalous Theological-Political Treatise (1670) provoked outrage during his lifetime due to its biblical criticism, anticlericalism, and defense of the freedom to philosophize. Together, these works earned Spinoza a reputation as a singularly radical thinker. -/- In this book, Steinberg and Viljanen offer a concise and (...) up-to-date account of Spinoza’s thought and its philosophical legacy. They explore the full range of Spinoza’s ideas, from politics and theology to ontology and epistemology. Drawing broadly on Spinoza’s impressive oeuvre, they have crafted a lucid introduction for readers unfamiliar with this important philosopher, as well as a nuanced and enlightening study for more experienced readers. (shrink)
Provides a critical and analytical history of ancient Greek theories on the nature of pleasure, and of its value and rolein human lfie, from the ealriest times down to the period of Epicurus and the early Stoics.
I present Ned Markosian's episodic account of identity under a sortal, and then use it to sketch a new model of the Trinity. I show that the model can be used to solve at least three important Trinitarian puzzles: the traditional ‘logical problem of the Trinity’, a less-discussed problem that has been dubbed the ‘problem of triunity’, and a problem about the divine processions that has been enjoying increased attention in the recent literature.