A common objection to sense-datum theories of perception is that they cannot give an adequate account of the fact that introspection indicates that our sensory experiences are directed on, or are about, the mind-independent entities in the world around us, that our sense experience is transparent to the world. In this paper I point out that the main force of this claim is to point out an explanatory challenge to sense-datum theories.
The disjunctive theory of perception claims that we should understand statements about how things appear to a perceiver to be equivalent to statements of a disjunction that either one is perceiving such and such or one is suffering an illusion (or hallucination); and that such statements are not to be viewed as introducing a report of a distinctive mental event or state common to these various disjoint situations. When Michael Hinton ﬁrst introduced the idea, he suggested that the burden of (...) proof or disproof lay with his opponent, that what was needed was to show that our talk of how things look or appear to one.. (shrink)
Disjunctivism about perceptual appearances, as I conceive of it, is a theory which seeks to preserve a naïve realist conception of veridical perception in the light of the challenge from the argument from hallucination. The naïve realist claims that some sensory experiences are relations to mind-independent objects. That is to say, taking experiences to be episodes or events, the naïve realist supposes that some such episodes have as constituents mind-independent objects. In turn, the disjunctivist claims that in a case of (...) veridical perception like this very kind of experience that you now have, the experiential episode you enjoy is of a kind which could not be occurring were you having an hallucination. The common strategy of arguments from hallucination set out to show that certain things are true of hallucinations, and hence must be true of perceptions. For example, it is argued that hallucinations must have non-physical objects of awareness, or that such states are not relations to anything at all, but are at best seeming relations to objects. In insisting that veridical perceptual experience is of a distinct kind from hallucination, the disjunctivist denies that any of these conceptions of hallucination challenges our conception of veridical perceptions as relations to mind-independent objects. More specifically, I assume that the disjunctivist advocates naïve realism because they think that this position best articulates how sensory experience seems to us to be just through reflection. If the disjunctivist is correct in this contention, then anyone who accepts the conclusion of the argument from hallucination must also accept that the nature of sensory experience is other than it seems to us to be. In turn, one may complain that any such error theory is liable to lead to sceptical consequences. A Humean scepticism about the senses launches a challenge about our knowledge of the world through questioning the conception we have of what sense experience is, and how it can provide knowledge of the world. (shrink)
A long-standing theme in discussion of perception and thought has been that our primary cognitive contact with individual objects and events in the world derives from our perceptual contact with them. When I look at a duck in front of me, I am not merely presented with the fact that there is at least one duck in the area, rather I seem to be presented withthisthing in front of me, which looks to me to be a duck. Furthermore, such a (...) perception would seem to put me in a position not merely to make the existential judgment that there is some duck or other present, but rather to make a singular, demonstrative judgment, that that is a duck. My grounds for an existential judgment in this case derives from my apprehension of the demonstrative thought and not vice versa. (shrink)
Listening to someone from some distance in a crowded room you may experience the following phenomenon: when looking at them speak, you may both hear and see where the source of the sounds is; but when your eyes are turned elsewhere, you may no longer be able to detect exactly where the voice must be coming from. With your eyes again fixed on the speaker, and the movement of her lips a clear sense of the source of the sound will (...) return. This ‘ventriloquist’ effect reflects the ways in which visual cognition can dominate auditory perception. And this phenomenological observation is one that you can verify or disconfirm in your own case just by the slightest reflection on what it is like for you to listen to someone with or without visual contact with them. (shrink)
Book description: The capacity to represent and think about time is one of the most fundamental and least understood aspects of human cognition and consciousness. This book throws new light on central issues in the study of the mind by uniting, for the first time, psychological and philosophical approaches dealing with the connection between temporal representation and memory. Fifteen specially written essays by leading psychologists and philosophers investigate the way in which time is represented in memory, and the role memory (...) plays in our ability to reason about time. They offer insights into current theories of memory processes and of the mechanisms and cognitive abilities underlying temporal judgements, and draw out fundamental issues concerning the phenomenology and epistemology of memory and our understanding of time. The chapters are arranged into four sections, each focused on one area of current research: Keeping Track of Time, and Temporal Representation; Memory, Awareness and the Past; Memory and Experience; Knowledge and the Past: The Epistemology and Metaphysics of Time. A general introduction gives an overview of the topics discussed and makes explicit central themes which unify the different philosophical and psychological approaches. (shrink)
As commonly understood, professional ethics consists of shared duties and episodic dilemmas--the responsibilities incumbent on all members of specific professions joined together with the dilemmas that arise when these responsibilities conflict. Martin challenges this "consensus paradigm" as he rethinks professional ethics to include personal commitments and ideals, of which many are not mandatory. Using specific examples from a wide range of professions, including medicine, law, high school teaching, journalism, engineering, and ministry, he explores how personal commitments motivate, guide, and give (...) meaning to work. (shrink)
Do we directly perceive physical objects? What is the significance of the qualification ‘directly’ here? Austin famously denied that there was a unique interpretation by which we could make sense of the traditional debate in the philosophy of perception. I look here at Thompson Clarke’s discussion of G. E. Moore and surface perception to answer Austin’s scepticism.
Listening to someone from some distance in a crowded room you may experience the following phenomenon: when looking at them speak, you may both hear and see where the source of the sounds is; but when your eyes are turned elsewhere, you may no longer be able to detect exactly where the voice must be coming from. With your eyes again fixed on the speaker, and the movement of her lips a clear sense of the source of the sound will (...) return. This ‘ventriloquist’ effect reflects the ways in which visual cognition can dominate auditory perception. And this phenomenological observation is one what you can verify or disconfirm in your own case just by the slightest reflection on what it is like for you to listen to someone with or without visual contact with them. (shrink)
Belief in Heaven is an essential part of the great monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Famous theologians have written about it, and ordinary theists hope to go there after death. However, the concept of Heaven is neither clear nor unproblematic. There are three serious problems with the notion of Heaven. First, the concept of Heaven lacks coherence. Second, it is doubtful that theists can reconcile the heavenly character of Heaven with standard defenses against the argument from evil, such (...) as the free will defense. Finally, Heaven is unfair and thus in conflict with the goodness of God. -/- 1. Introduction -- 2. The Traditional Doctrine -- 3. The Coherence of Heaven -- 4. The Problem of the Heavenly Character of Heaven -- 5. The Unfairness of Heaven -- 6. Objections - 6.1 Objection 1 - 6.2 Objection 2 - 6.3 Objection 3 - 6.4 Objection 4 -- 7. Conclusion. (shrink)
The study of engineering ethics tends to emphasize professional codes of ethics and, to lesser degrees, business ethics and technology studies. These are all important vantage points, but they neglect personal moral commitments, as well as personal aesthetic, religious, and other values that are not mandatory for all members of engineering. This paper illustrates how personal moral commitments motivate, guide, and give meaning to the work of engineers, contributing to both self-fulfillment and public goods. It also explores some general frameworks (...) for thinking about these commitments and calls for further exploration of them. (shrink)
Because every single one of us will die, most of us would like to know what—if anything—awaits us afterward, not to mention the fate of lost loved ones. Given the nearly universal vested interest we personally have in deciding this question in favor of an afterlife, it is no surprise that the vast majority of books on the topic affirm the reality of life after death without a backward glance. But the evidence of our senses and the ever-gaining strength of (...) scientific evidence strongly suggest otherwise. -/- In The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life after Death, Michael Martin and Keith Augustine collect a series of contributions that redress this imbalance in the literature by providing a strong, comprehensive, and up-to-date casebook of the chief arguments against an afterlife all in one place. Divided into four separate sections, this essay collection opens the volume with a broad overview of the issues, as contributors consider the strongest available evidence as to whether or not we survive death—in particular the biological basis of all mental states and their grounding in brain activity that ceases to function at death. Next contributors consider a host of conceptual and empirical difficulties that confront the various ways of "surviving" death—from bodiless minds to bodily resurrection to any form of posthumous survival. Then essayists turn to internal inconsistencies between traditional theological conceptions of an afterlife—Heaven, Hell, karmic rebirth—and widely held ethical principles central to the belief systems undergirding those notions. In the final section, authors offer critical evaluations of the main types of evidence for an afterlife. -/- Fully interdisciplinary, The Myth of an Afterlife: The Case against Life after Death brings together a variety of fields of research to make that case, including cognitive neuroscience, philosophy of mind, personal identity, philosophy of religion, moral philosophy, psychical research, and anomalistic psychology. As the definitive casebook of arguments against life after death, this collection is required reading for any instructor, researcher, and student in philosophy, religious studies, and theology. It is sure to raise provocative issues new to readers, regardless of background, from those who believe fervently in the reality of an afterlife to those who do not or are undecided on the matter. (shrink)
In this 2007 volume, eighteen of the world's leading scholars present original essays on various aspects of atheism: its history, both ancient and modern, defense and implications. The topic is examined in terms of its implications for a wide range of disciplines including philosophy, religion, feminism, postmodernism, sociology and psychology. In its defense, both classical and contemporary theistic arguments are criticized, and, the argument from evil, and impossibility arguments, along with a non religious basis for morality are defended. These essays (...) give a broad understanding of atheism and a lucid introduction to this controversial topic. (shrink)
Divided into four parts, this treatise begins with well-known criticisms of nonreligious ethics and then develops an atheistic metaethics. In Part 2, Martin criticizes the Christian foundation of ethics, specifically the ’divine command theory’ and the idea of imitating the life of Jesus as the basis of Christian morality. Part 3 demonstrates that life can be meaningful in the absence of religious belief. Part 4 criticizes the theistic point of view in general terms as well as the specific Christian doctrines (...) of the atonement, salvation, and the resurrection. (publisher, edited). (shrink)
Most people, believers and nonbelievers alike, are unfamiliar with the variety and force of arguments for the impossibility of God. Yet over recent years a growing number of scholars have been formulating and developing a series of increasingly powerful arguments that the concept of God, as variously understood by the world's major religions and leading theologians, is contradictory in many ways, and therefore God does not and cannot exist. This unique anthology brings together for the first time most of the (...) important arguments for the impossibility of God that have been published. The collection includes papers and book selections by J. L. Mackie, Quentin Smith, Theodore Drange, Michael Martin, and many other distinguished scholars. The editors provide a general introduction and brief summaries of the arguments to help the reader grasp the crucial issues involved. Both students and teachers of philosophy and the philosophy of religion will find this anthology to be an indispensable resource. (shrink)
This paper is a critical review of Mitchell Green’s Self-Expression . The principal focus is on Green’s contention that all expression is at route, a form of signalling by an agent or by some mechanism of the organism which has been evolutionary selected for signalling. Starting from the idea that in some but not all expression an agent seeks to express his or her self, I question the centrality of communication to the idea of expression.
Seventeenth century philosophers were pre-occupied with the justification for the use of coercion; the nature and scope of the citizen's duty to obey the law was a central concern. The typical philosophical accounts which attempt to articulate the conditions under which a citizen has an obligation to obey the law tend to fall into two camps: those that ground the obligation to obey the law in consent, and those that ground it in benefits received, or possibly a combination of both. (...) More recently, however, some have argued that questions about the obligation to obey the law have been eclipsed by questions about distributive justice. Many leading figures in modern analytic jurisprudence remain concerned with the nature of political obligation. Joseph Raz is a current-day theorist who has recognized the importance of this issue and the need for an answer that is not over-simplistic. Recently Raz has re-examined his account in ?The Problem of Authority: Revisiting the Service Conception, - making an exploration of his theory particularly timely. Raz argues that all governments claim morally legitimate authority, but not all of them actually possess it. His theory seeks to give us the tools by which to distinguish the legitimate claims from imposters. The complexity and flexibility of Raz's understanding of the nature and scope of the individual's obligation to obey the law accounts for its appeal. Upon closer inspection, however, difficulties emerge. I argue that Raz's theory is plagued by a deep-seated tension between his two central theses: the pre-emption thesis and the normal justification thesis. While I explore both theses in further depth, the gist of the pre-emption thesis is that it requires a pre-commitment to authority in order for the law?s mediating role to be performed. Conversely, the normal justification thesis invites a case by case assessment of the bindingness of norms. I argue that instead of offering us a unified conception of authority, Raz vacillates unstably between two models - a consent-based model and a benefits received model. I demonstrate that this tension is ineradicable because the theses are connected to divergent models of law and incompatible methodologies. (shrink)
Positive psychologists aspire to study the moral virtues, as well as positive emotions, while retaining scientific objectivity. Within this framework, Martin Seligman, a founder of positive psychology, offers an empirically-based argument for an ancient and venerable theme: happiness can be increased by exercising the virtues. Seligman's project is promising, but it needs to pay greater attention to several methodological matters: greater care in defining happiness, so as to avoid smuggling in value assumptions of the sort suggested by the title of (...) his book, Authentic Happiness; more attention to the gap between happiness as overall satisfaction and specific gratifications ; the danger of sliding to subjectivism by equating self-assessments of virtue with objectively-justified values of the sort Aristotle had in mind; awareness of how “positive” emotions and attitudes presuppose value assumptions. (shrink)