Recent work at the junction of epistemology and political theory focuses on the notion of epistemic injustice, the injustice of being wronged as a knower. Miranda Fricker (2007) identifies two kinds of epistemic injustice. I focus here on hermeneutical injustice in an attempt to identify a difficulty for Fricker's account. In particular, I consider the significance of background social conditions and suggest that an epistemic injustice should not rely on other forms of disadvantage to achieve its status as an injustice. (...) Thus reformulated, the notion of epistemic injustice can help us to achieve an even deeper understanding of the relationship between knowledge and privilege. (shrink)
Laura Nader is a towering figure as anthropologist, teacher, and public intellectual. Her letters give a glimpse of academic life mostly unseen by academics and by the general public. The collection includes letters from academic colleagues, but it also contains correspondence from lawyers, politicians, citizens, people on death row, Peace Corps workers, members of the military, scientists, and more.
Many theists of a traditional bent have been bothered by the apparent tension between God's essential omnipotence and his essential moral goodness. Nelson Pike draws attention to the conflict between these two attributes in his article ‘Omnipotence and God's Ability to Sin’, and there have been many attempts to respond to it since that time. Most of these responses argue that the essential omnipotence and essential goodness of God are not logically incompatible, so that the traditional conception of God is (...) not incoherent; I think the arguments have been largely successful. However, some theists have found the typical responses to Pike less than convincing, and are tempted to surrender the claim that God has moral perfection essentially in favour of the more modest claim that God is morally perfect in the actual world though in some possible worlds God is morally defective. I argue in this paper that this fall-back position is incoherent. More accurately, I argue that a necessary being who is essentially omniscient and essentially omnipotent cannot be contingently morally perfect or contingently morally defective. Any such being is either essentially good or essentially evil. Since the latter alternative seems unattractive, I argue that theists should embrace the essential moral perfection of God. (shrink)
Philosophers of quantum mechanics have generally addressed exceedingly simple systems. Laura Ruetsche offers a much-needed study of the interpretation of more complicated systems, and an underexplored family of physical theories, such as quantum field theory and quantum statistical mechanics, showing why they repay philosophical attention. She guides those familiar with the philosophy of ordinary QM into the philosophy of 'QM infinity', by presenting accessible introductions to relevant technical notions and the foundational questions they frame--and then develops and defends answers (...) to some of those questions. Finally, Ruetsche highlights ties between the foundational investigation of QM infinity and philosophy more broadly construed, in particular by using the interpretive problems discussed to motivate new ways to think about the nature of physical possibility and the problem of scientific realism. (shrink)
In _The Fold_, Laura U. Marks offers a practical philosophy and aesthetic theory for living in an infinitely connected cosmos. Drawing on the theories of Leibniz, Glissant, Deleuze, and theoretical physicist David Bohm—who each conceive of the universe as being folded in on itself in myriad ways—Marks contends that the folds of the cosmos are entirely constituted of living beings. From humans to sandwiches to software to stars, every entity is alive and occupies its own private enclosure inside the (...) cosmos. Through analyses of fiction, documentary, and experimental movies, interactive media, and everyday situations, Marks outlines embodied methods for detecting and augmenting the connections between each living entity and the cosmos. She shows that by affectively mediating with the ever-shifting folded relations within the cosmos, it is possible to build “soul-assemblages” that challenge information capitalism, colonialism, and other power structures and develop new connections with the infinite. With this guide for living within the enfolded and unfolding cosmos, Marks teaches readers to richly apprehend the world and to trace the processes of becoming that are immanent within the fold. (shrink)
There has been an increasing interest into how to build Artificial Moral Agents (AMAs) that make moral decisions on the basis of causation rather than mere correction. One promising avenue for achieving this is to use a causal modelling approach. This paper explores an open and important problem with such an approach; namely, the problem of what makes a causal model an appropriate model. I explore why we need to establish criteria for what makes a model appropriate, and offer-up such (...) criteria which appeals to normative considerations. (shrink)
Neoliberal Techniques of Social Suffering: Political Resistance and Critical Theory from Latin America and Spain is the result of the critical and political commitment of various Latin American and Spanish philosophers who share a critical approach to the global “stealth revolution” in recent decades, where neoliberalism has forced the well-being and reproduction of life to adapt to a system devastating for both humans and non-humans. The authors voice the shared concern of contemporary Spanish and Latin American societies to build new (...) conceptions of the public and the common through mobilizing affects usually disavowed in political theory. If, in Ancient Greece, the idea of strengthening the most vulnerable and weakest was deplored as the art of sophists, this collection edited by Laura Quintana and Nuria Sánchez Madrid explores the other side of our social world to revive grassroots strategies of resistance and emancipation, which are able to bring about new distributions of power, welfare, and discursive legitimation and to extend our goal of creating a radically democratic world. (shrink)
This paper proposes a new relational account of concepts and shows how it is particularly well suited to characterizing normative concepts. The key advantage of our ‘connectedness’ model is that it explains how subjects can share the same normative concepts despite radical divergences in the descriptive or motivational commitments they associate with them. The connectedness model builds social and historical facts into the foundations of concept identity. This aspect of the model, we suggest, reshapes normative epistemology and provides new resources (...) for a vindication of realism in ethics. (shrink)
In this comprehensive new study of human free agency, Laura Waddell Ekstrom critically surveys contemporary philosophical literature and provides a novel account of the conditions for free action. Ekstrom argues that incompatibilism concerning free will and causal determinism is true and thus the right account of the nature of free action must be indeterminist in nature. She examines a variety of libertarian approaches, ultimately defending an account relying on indeterministic causation among events and appealing to agent causation only in (...) a reducible sense. Written in an engaging style and incorporating recent scholarship, this study is critical reading for scholars and students interested in the topics of motivation, causation, responsibility, and freedom. In broadly covering the important positions of others along with its exposition of the author’s own view, Free Will provides both a significant scholarly contribution and a valuable text for courses in metaphysics and action theory. (shrink)
It's widely accepted that social facts about an individual's linguistic community can affect both the reference of her words and the concepts those words express. Theorists sympathetic to the internalist tradition have sought to accommodate these social dependence phenomena without altering their core theoretical commitments by positing deferential reference-fixing criteria. In this paper, we sketch a different explanation of social dependence phenomena, according to which all concepts are individuated in part by causal-historical relations linking token elements of thought.
Two-dimensional (2D) semantics is a formal framework that is used to characterize the meaning of certain linguistic expressions and the entailment relations among sentences containing them. 2D semantics has also been applied to thought contents. In contrast with standard possible worlds semantics, 2D semantics assigns extensions and truth-values to expressions relative to two possible world parameters, rather than just one. So a 2D semantic framework provides finer-grained semantic values than those available within standard possible world semantics, while using the same (...) basic model-theoretic resources. The 2D framework itself is just a formal tool. To develop a semantic theory for someone’s language, a proponent of 2D semantics must do three things: (i) explain what exactly the two possible world parameters represent, (ii) explain the rules for assigning 2D semantic values to a person’s words and sentences, and (iii) explain how 2D semantic values help in understanding the meanings of the person’s words and sentences. (shrink)
A philosophically and historically sensitive account of the engagement of the major protagonists of Victorian British philosophy, Reforming Philosophy considers the controversies between William Whewell and John Stuart Mill on the topics of science, morality, politics, and economics. By situating their debate within the larger context of Victorian society and its concerns, Laura Snyder shows how two very different men—Whewell, an educator, Anglican priest, and critic of science; and Mill, a philosopher, political economist, and parliamentarian—reacted to the challenges of (...) their times, each seeking to reform science as a means of reforming society as a whole. The first book-length examination of the dispute between Mill and Whewell in its entirety, Reforming Philosophy provides a rich and nuanced understanding of the intellectual spirit of Victorian Britain and will be welcomed by philosophers and historians of science, scholars of Victorian studies, and students of the history of philosophy and political economy. (shrink)
Insights into the intelligence throughout the natural and technical environment, in the fabric of our devices and dwellings, in our clothes, and under our skin. Is there a way to understand the materials that surround us not as passive objects, but as other intelligences interacting with our own? In Parallel Minds, expert in materials science and nanotechnology Laura Tripaldi delivers not only detailed insights into the properties and emergent behaviors of matter as revealed by state-of-the-art chemistry, synthetic biology, and (...) nanotech, but also a rich philosophical reflection that crosses the frontier between nature and culture, where the most cutting-edge scientific syntheses resonate with ancient myth. The result is a technomaterial bestiary full of unexpected encounters with “strange minds”—from cobwebs to kevlar and carbon fibre, from centaurs to amoebas to arachnids, from polycephalic slime to resonating plasmons, from viruses to golems. Parallel Minds reveals the intelligence at large throughout the natural and technical environment, in the fabric of our devices and dwellings, in our clothes, and even under our skin. Full of lateral ideas and unexpected images, Tripaldi’s book imbues the study and synthesis of materials with a new urgency. For not only do the materials that surround us participate actively in the construction of the world in which we live, but harnessing their ability to interact intelligently with their environment could be the key to the future of our species. (shrink)
The Victorian period in Britain was an “age of reform.” It is therefore not surprising that two of the era’s most eminent intellects described themselves as reformers. Both William Whewell and John Stuart Mill believed that by reforming philosophy—including the philosophy of science—they could effect social and political change. But their divergent visions of this societal transformation led to a sustained and spirited controversy that covered morality, politics, science, and economics. Situating their debate within the larger context of Victorian society (...) and its concerns, _Reforming Philosophy_ shows how two very different men captured the intellectual spirit of the day and engaged the attention of other scientists and philosophers, including the young Charles Darwin. Mill—philosopher, political economist, and Parliamentarian—remains a canonical author of Anglo-American philosophy, while Whewell—Anglican cleric, scientist, and educator—is now often overlooked, though in his day he was renowned as an authority on science. Placing their teachings in their proper intellectual, cultural, and argumentative spheres, Laura Snyder revises the standard views of these two important Victorian figures, showing that both men’s concerns remain relevant today. A philosophically and historically sensitive account of the engagement of the major protagonists of Victorian British philosophy, _Reforming Philosophy_ is the first book-length examination of the dispute between Mill and Whewell in its entirety. A rich and nuanced understanding of the intellectual spirit of Victorian Britain, it will be welcomed by philosophers and historians of science, scholars of Victorian studies, and students of the history of philosophy and political economy. (shrink)
Frank Jackson often writes as if his descriptivist account of public language meanings were just plain common sense. How else are we to explain how different speakers manage to communicate using a public language? And how else can we explain how individuals arrive at confident judgments about the reference of their words in hypothetical scenarios? Our aim in this paper is to show just how controversial the psychological assumptions behind in Jackson’s semantic theory really are. First, we explain how Jackson’s (...) theory goes well beyond the commonsense platitudes he cites in its defence. Second, we sketch an alternative explanation of those platitudes, the jazz model of meaning, which we argue is more psychologically realistic. We conclude that the psychological picture presupposed by Jackson’s semantic theory stands in need of a much more substantial defence than he has so far offered. (shrink)
Dr. Laura dives into the controversial topics and thorniest problems that face today's parents and grandparents, husbands and wives, men and women, and everyone seeking love, fulfillment, success -- or simply anyone who wants to be a decent and productive human being. With her trademark provocative, firm, but always thought-provoking and values-centered advice, Dr. Laura provides guidance that will inspire readers to be the very best they can be. Based on the tough-love advice from the calls and letters (...) Dr. Laura receives. (shrink)
This paper examines whether realists can explain co-reference without appealing to subjects’ ideal convergence in judgment. This question is particularly pressing in the normative domain, since deep disagreement about the applicability of normative predicates suggests that different speakers may not pick out the same property when they use normative terms. Normative realists, we believe, have not been sufficiently aware of the difficulties involved in providing a theory of reference-determination. Our aim in this paper is to clarify the nature of this (...) reference-fixing task and the challenges that arise for a non-convergentist normative realist. Our focal point will be Richard Boyd’s externalist account, which has been a model for non-convergentist theories of reference in metaethics. A close examination of Boyd’s account of reference and the ways it could be developed or supplemented, we’ll argue, suggests that explaining co-reference without convergence in the normative domain is a more challenging problem than many realists have supposed. (shrink)
Frank Jackson and David Chalmers have suggested that the diagonal intensions defined by their two-dimensional framework can play the two key roles of Fregean senses: they provide a priori accessible extension conditions for a representation and they provide the identity conditions for meanings and thought contents. In this paper, I clarify the nature of the psychological abilities that are needed to underwrite the first role. I then argue that these psychological abilities are not sufficiently stable or cognitively salient to individuate (...) meanings or thought contents. (shrink)
IRBs in action -- Everyone's an expert? Warrants for expertise -- Local precedents -- Documents and deliberations: an anticipatory perspective -- Setting IRBs in motion in Cold War America -- An ethics of place -- The many forms of consent -- Deflecting responsibility -- Conclusion: the making of ethical research.
Are wealthy countries' duties towards developing countries grounded in justice or in weaker concerns of charity? Justice in a Globalized World offers both an in-depth critique of the most prominent philosophical answers to this question, and a distinctive approach for addressing it.
Is democracy a requirement of justice or an instrument for realizing it? The correct answer to this question, I argue, depends on the background circumstances against which democracy is defended. In the presence of thin reasonable disagreement about justice, we should value democracy only instrumentally (if at all); in the presence of thick reasonable disagreement about justice, we should value it also intrinsically, as a necessary demand of justice. Since the latter type of disagreement is pervasive in real-world politics, I (...) conclude that theories of justice designed for our world should be centrally concerned with democracy. (shrink)
This essay is a discussion of the radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger. It is an assessment of the moral advice that she dispenses her radio show, and kinds of criticisms to which she has been subjected.
This innovative book takes a new look at environmental ethics and the need for ecological and biological integrity. Laura Westra explores the necessity for radical alteration not only of interpersonal ethics, but also of social institutions and public policy. In the process, Westra denies the validity of majority rule in environmentally ethical concerns. Issues discussed in the book include the link between ecological integrity and human health; an environmental evaluation of business and technology; biotechnology and transgenics in agriculture and (...) aquaculture; and the environmental ethics of the ancient Greeks and Kant. Living in Integrity is a valuable book for philosophers and environmentalists alike. (shrink)
Naked Science is about contested domains and includes different science cultures: physics, molecular biology, primatology, immunology, ecology, medical environmental, mathematical and navigational domains. While the volume rests on the assumption that science is not autonomous, the book is distinguished by its global perspective. Examining knowledge systems within a planetary frame forces thinking about boundaries that silence or affect knowledge-building. Consideration of ethnoscience and technoscience research within a common framework is overdue for raising questions about deeply held beliefs and assumptions we (...) all carry about scientific knowledge. We need a perspective on how to regard different science traditions because public controversies should not be about a glorified science or a despicable science. Contributors are: Ward Goodenough, Eloisa and Brent Berlin, Colin Scott, Jean Lave, Emily Martin, Troy Duster, Hugh Gusterson, Charles Schwartz, Joan Fujimura, Sharon Traweek, Estellie Smith, Ellen Bielawaski, David Jacobon, Charles Ziegler, Pamela Asquith. (shrink)
Consumption--the flow of physical materials in human lives--is an important ethical issue. Be it fair trade coffee or foreign oil, North Americans' consumption choices affect the well-being of humans around the globe, in addition to impacting the natural world and consumers themselves. In this book, Laura Hartman seeks to formulate a coherent Christian ethic of consumption.
Outlaw emotions are emotions that stand in tension with one’s wider belief system, often allowing epistemic insight one may have otherwise lacked. Outlaw emotions are thought to play crucial epistemic roles under conditions of oppression. Although the crucial epistemic value of these emotions is widely acknowledged, specific accounts of their epistemic role(s) remain largely programmatic. There are two dominant accounts of the epistemic role of emotions: The Motivational View and the Justificatory View. Philosophers of emotion assume that these dominant ways (...) of accounting for the epistemic role(s) of emotions in general are equipped to account for the epistemic role(s) of outlaw emotions. I argue that this is not the case. I consider and dismiss two responses that could be made on behalf of the most promising account, the Justificatory View, in light of my argument, before sketching an alternative account that should be favoured. (shrink)
Throughout his writings, and particularly in Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, Kant alludes to the idea that evil is connected to self-deceit, and while numerous commentators regard this as a highly attractive thesis, none have seriously explored it. Kant on Evil, Self-Deception, and Moral Reform addresses this crucial element of Kant's ethical theory. -/- Working with both Kant's core texts on ethics and materials less often cited within scholarship on Kant's practical philosophy (such as Kant's logic lectures), Papish (...) explores the cognitive dimensions of Kant's accounts of evil and moral reform while engaging the most influential -- and often scathing -- of Kant's critics. Her book asks what self-deception is for Kant, why and how it is connected to evil, and how we achieve the self-knowledge that should take the place of self-deceit. (shrink)