Educational neutrality states that decisions about school curricula and instruction should be made independently of particular comprehensive doctrines. Many political philosophers of education reject this view in favor of some non-neutral alternative. Contrary to what one might expect, some prominent liberal neutralists have also rejected this view in parts of their work. This paper has two purposes. The first part of the paper concerns the relationship between liberal neutrality and educational neutrality. I examine arguments by Rawls and Nagel and argue (...) that some of the same arguments they use to justify liberal neutrality also justify educational neutrality; thus, if we accept these arguments for liberal neutrality, we should also accept educational neutrality. The second part of the paper defends educational neutrality against objections that it is impossible and objections that it is undesirable. (shrink)
This paper argues that egalitarian theories should be judged by the degree to which they meet four different challenges. Fundamentalist egalitarianism, which contends that certain inequalities are intrinsically bad or unjust regardless of their consequences, fails to meet these challenges. Building on discussions by T.M. Scanlon and David Miller, we argue that egalitarianism is better understood in terms of commitments to six egalitarian objectives. A consequence of our view, in contrast to Martin O'Neill's “non-intrinsic egalitarianism,“ is that egalitarianism is better (...) understood as a family of views than as a single ethical position. (shrink)
I am aware of the rain outside, but only in virtue of looking at a weather report. I am aware of my friend, but only because I hear her voice through my phone. Thus, there are some things that I’m aware of, but only indirectly. Many philosophers believe that there are also some things of which I am directly aware. The most plausible candidates are experiences such as pains, tickles, visual sensations, etc. In fact, the philosophical consensus seems to be (...) that experiences are the only plausible candidates for acquaintance. But I will argue that we are also acquainted with ourselves. After outlining what it means to be acquainted with oneself, I will introduce, develop, and defend a commonly used test for acquaintance. Then I will apply this test to us and show that we pass. I will consider various objections to my argument. But ultimately I will conclude that we can be, and often are, acquainted with ourselves. (shrink)
The potential to instrumentalize drug use based upon the detection of very many different drug states undoubtedly exists, and such states may play a role in psychiatric and many other drug uses. Nevertheless, nonaddictive drug use is potentially more parsimoniously explained in terms of sensation seeking/impulsivity and drug expectations. Cultural factors also play a major role in nonaddictive drug use.
The Skillfulness of Virtue provides a new framework for understanding virtue as a skill, based on psychological research on self-regulation and expertise. Matt Stichter lays the foundations of his argument by bringing together theories of self-regulation and skill acquisition, which he then uses as grounds to discuss virtue development as a process of skill acquisition. This account of virtue as skill has important implications for debates about virtue in both virtue ethics and virtue epistemology. Furthermore, it engages seriously with (...) criticisms of virtue theory that arise in moral psychology, as psychological experiments reveal that there are many obstacles to acting and thinking well, even for those with the best of intentions. Stichter draws on self-regulation strategies and examples of deliberate practice in skill acquisition to show how we can overcome some of these obstacles, and become more skillful in our moral and epistemic virtues. (shrink)
Paul Bloomfield’s latest book, The Virtues of Happiness, is an excellent discussion of what constitutes living the Good Life. It is a self-admittedly ambitious book, as he seeks to show that people who act immorally necessarily fall short of living well. Instead of arguing that immorality is inherently irrational, he puts it in terms of it being inherently harmful in regards to one’s ability to achieve the Good Life. It’s ambitious because he tries to argue this starting from grounds which (...) the immoralist (usually an egoist) would accept. He starts from premises about our desire to be happy, and how happiness is inconsistent with a lack of self-respect, which he claims are premises even an egoist would accept. His key argument is then that self-respect is tied to one’s respect for others, so that being happy is therefore inconsistent with a disrespect for others. He then goes on to argue about the necessity of virtue for truly being as happy as we can be. -/- Bloomfield’s book is an interesting synthesis of the traditional Greek focus on eudaimonia (i.e. living well) with the Kantian concern of a respect for persons. I found myself in agreement with much of what he had to say, making this review a bit challenging. Nevertheless, I will endeavor to point out areas where, despite my agreement on his conclusions, I think his arguments could be challenged and would require further support. (shrink)
I can be aware of myself, and thereby come to know things about myself, in a variety of different ways. But is there some special way in which I—and only I—can learn about myself? Can I become aware of myself by introspecting? Do I somehow show up in my own conscious experiences? David Hume and most contemporary philosophers say no. They deny that the self shows up in experience. However, in this paper I appeal to research on schizophrenia—on thought insertion, (...) in particular—to argue that Hume and his follows are wrong: The self does, in fact, show up in experience. (shrink)
Today, DIY -- do-it-yourself -- describes more than self-taught carpentry. Social media enables DIY citizens to organize and protest in new ways and to repurpose corporate content in order to offer political counternarratives. This book examines the usefulness and limits of DIY citizenship, exploring the diverse forms of political participation and "critical making" that have emerged in recent years. The authors and artists in this collection describe DIY citizens whose activities range from activist fan blogging and video production to knitting (...) and the creation of community gardens. Contributors examine DIY activism, describing new modes of civic engagement that include Harry Potter fan activism and the activities of the Yes Men. They consider DIY making in learning, culture, hacking, and the arts, including do-it-yourself media production and collaborative documentary making. They discuss DIY and design and how citizens can unlock the black box of technological infrastructures to engage and innovate open and participatory critical making. And they explore DIY and media, describing activists' efforts to remake and reimagine media and the public sphere. As these chapters make clear, DIY is characterized by its emphasis on "doing" and making rather than passive consumption. DIY citizens assume active roles as interventionists, makers, hackers, modders, and tinkerers, in pursuit of new forms of engaged and participatory democracy. _Contributors_Mike Ananny, Chris Atton, Alexandra Bal, Megan Boler, Catherine Burwell, Red Chidgey, Andrew Clement, Negin Dahya, Suzanne de Castell, Carl DiSalvo, Kevin Driscoll, Christina Dunbar-Hester, Joseph Ferenbok, Stephanie Fisher, Miki Foster, Stephen Gilbert, Henry Jenkins, Jennifer Jenson, Yasmin B. Kafai, Ann Light, Steve Mann, Joel McKim, Brenda McPhail, Owen McSwiney, Joshua McVeigh-Schultz, Graham Meikle, Emily Rose Michaud, Kate Milberry, Michael Murphy, Jason Nolan, Kate Orton-Johnson, Kylie A. Peppler, David J. Phillips, Karen Pollock, Matt Ratto, Ian Reilly, Rosa Reitsamer, Mandy Rose, Daniela K. Rosner, Yukari Seko, Karen Louise Smith, Lana Swartz, Alex Tichine, Jennette Weber, Elke Zobl. (shrink)
This is a book about sensory states and their apparent characteristics. It confronts a whole series of metaphysical and epistemological questions and presents an argument for type materialism: the view that sensory states are identical with the neural states with which they are correlated. According to type materialism, sensations are only possessed by human beings and members of related biological species; silicon-based androids cannot have sensations. The author rebuts several other rival theories, and explores a number of important issues: the (...) forms and limits of introspective awareness of sensations, the semantic properties of sensory concepts, knowledge of other minds, and unity of consciousness. The book is a significant contribution to the philosophy of mind, and has much to say to psychologists and cognitive scientists. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis paper challenges a frequent objection to conceptualizing virtues as skills, which is that skills are merely capacities to act well, while virtues additionally require being properly motivated to act well. I discuss several cases that purport to show the supposed motivational difference by drawing our attention to the differing intuitions we have about virtues and skills. However, this putative difference between virtue and skill disappears when we switch our focus in the skill examples from the performance to the performer. (...) The ends of a practice can be used to judge not only the skilfulness of a performance, but also the motivational commitment of the performer. Being virtuous requires both acting well and being properly motivated to do so, which can be captured by viewing virtues as the moral subset of skills. In claiming this, though, I resist the idea that there is no element in virtue that is not found in other skills. Virtue requires being practically wise about how practices fit into a... (shrink)
Since its resurgence in the 1990s, character education has been subject to a bevy of common criticisms, including that it is didactic and crudely behaviorist; premised on a faulty trait psychology; victim‐blaming; culturally imperialist, racist, religious, or ideologically conservative; and many other horrible things besides. Matt Ferkany and Benjamin Creed examine an intellectualist Aristotelian form of character education that has gained popularity recently and find that it is largely not susceptible to such criticisms. In this form, character education is (...) education for practically intelligent virtue, or the intrinsically motivated and psychically harmonious exercise of robust and stable traits involving practical intelligence conducive to individual and collective human flourishing. (shrink)
This paper argues for a reinterpretation of the skill analogy in virtue ethics. It argues that the skill analogy should not be understood as proposing that being virtuous is analogous to possessing a practical skill but, rather, as proposing that being virtuous is analogous to being a good occupant of a skill-involving role. The paper argues for this by engaging with various standard objections to the analogy, two recent defences of it, and Aristotle’s treatment of it in developing his account (...) of virtue in the Nicomachean Ethics. It aims to show that neither virtue nor the skill analogy is correctly understood without recourse to the notion of a role and that once we have recourse to that notion, many objections to the analogy are met. (shrink)
Matt LaVine argues that there is more potential in bringing the history of early analytic philosophy and critical theories of race and gender together than has been traditionally recognized. In particular, he explores the changes associated with a shift from revolutionary aspects of early analytic philosophy.
According to Rosalind Hursthouse’s virtue based account of right action, an act is right if it is what a fully virtuous person would do in that situation. Robert Johnson has criticized the account on the grounds that the actions a non-virtuous person should take are often uncharacteristic of the virtuous person, and thus Hursthouse’s account of right action is too narrow. The non-virtuous need to take steps to improve themselves morally, and the fully virtuous person need not take these steps. (...) So Johnson argues that any virtue based account of right action will have to find a way to ground a moral obligation to improve oneself. This paper argues that there is an account of virtue that can offer a partial solution to Johnson’s challenge, an account where virtue is a type of practical skill and in which the virtuous person is seen as having expertise. The paper references the account of skill acquisition developed by Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus. Their research demonstrates that novices in a skill have to employ different strategies to act well than the strategies used by the experts, and so the ‘virtue as skill’ thesis provides support for Johnson’s claim that the actions of the non-virtuous will differ from the virtuous. On the other hand, their research suggests that there is no separating the commitment to improve yourself from the possession of expertise, and so the ‘virtue as skill’ thesis has the resources for grounding the obligation to improve oneself in an account of virtue. (shrink)
Evolutionary Debunking Arguments purport to show that our moral beliefs do not amount to knowledge because these beliefs are “debunked” by the fact that our moral beliefs are, in some way, the product of evolutionary forces. But there is a substantial gap in this argument between its main evolutionary premise and the skeptical conclusion. What is it, exactly, about the evolutionary origins of moral beliefs that would create problems for realist views in metaethics? I argue that evolutionary debunking arguments are (...) best understood as offering up defeaters for our moral beliefs. Moreover, the defeater in question is a paradigmatic instance of undercutting defeat. If anything is an undercutting defeater, then learning about the evolutionary origins of our moral beliefs is a defeater for those beliefs. (shrink)
These days almost everyone seems to think it obvious that equality of opportunity is at least part of what constitutes a fair society. At the same time they are so vague about what equality of opportunity actually amounts to that it can begin to look like an empty term, a convenient shorthand for the way jobs should be allocated, whatever that happens to be. Matt Cavanagh offers a highly provocative and original new view, suggesting that the way we think (...) about equality and opportunity should be radically changed. (shrink)
Sensation of Movement explores the role of sensation in motor control, bodily self-recognition and sense of agency. The sensation of movement is dependent on a range of information received by the brain, from signalling in the peripheral sensory organs to the establishment of higher order goals. Through the integration of neuroscientific knowledge with psychological and philosophical perspectives, this book questions whether one type of information is more relevant for the ability to sense and control movement. Addressing conscious sensations of movement, (...) experimental designs and measures, and the possible functions of proprioceptive and kinaesthetic information in motor control and bodily cognition, the book advocates the integration of neuroscientific knowledge and philosophical perspectives. With an awareness of the diverse ideas and theories from these distinct fields, the book brings together leading researchers to bridge these divides and lay the groundwork for future research. -/- Contributors: Thor Grünbaum and Mark Schram Christensen Andreas Kalckert Myrto Mylopoulos Mads Jensen, Mia Dong, Mikkel C. Vinding, and Morten Overgaard Anne Kavounoudias Matthew R. Longo Hong Yu Wong. (shrink)
The aim of this volume is to critically assess the philosophical importance of phenomenology as a method for studying the normativity of meaning and its transcendental conditions. Using the pioneering work of Steven Crowell as a springboard, phenomenologists from all over the world examine the promise of phenomenology for illuminating long-standing problems in epistemology, the philosophy of mind, action theory, the philosophy of religion, and moral psychology. The essays are unique in that they engage with the phenomenological tradition not as (...) a collection of authorities to whom we must defer, or a set of historical artifacts we must preserve, but rather as a community of interlocutors with views that bear on important issues in contemporary philosophy. -/- The book is divided into three thematic sections, each examining different clusters of issues aimed at moving the phenomenological project forward. The first section explores the connection between normativity and meaning, and asks us to rethink the relation between the factual realm and the categories of validity in terms of which things can show up as what they are. The second section examines the nature of the self that is capable of experiencing meaning. It includes essays on intentionality, agency, consciousness, naturalism, and moral normativity. The third section addresses questions of philosophical methodology, examining if and why phenomenology should have priority in the analysis of meaning. Finally, the book concludes with an afterword written by Steven Crowell. -/- Normativity, Meaning, and the Promise of Phenomenology will be a key resource for students and scholars interested in the phenomenological tradition, the transcendental tradition from Kant to Davidson, and existentialism. Additionally, its forward-looking focus yields crucial insights into pressing philosophical problems that will appeal to scholars working across all areas of the discipline. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend an inductivist solution to Hume’s Problem of Induction against the popular counterinduction parody argument. Once we examine the structure of the inductivist position closely, we will see that there is no coherent way to parody it.
In what sense is the direction of time a matter of convention? In 'The Direction of Time', Hans Reichenbach makes brief reference to parallels between his views about the status of time’s direction and his conventionalism about geometry. In this article, I: (1) provide a conventionalist account of time direction motivated by a number of Reichenbach’s claims in the book; (2) show how forwards and backwards time can give equivalent descriptions of the world despite the former being the ‘natural’ direction (...) of time; and (3) argue that this offers an important middle-ground position between existing realist and antirealist accounts of the direction of time. (shrink)
Matt Beech traces the ideological roots of the Labour Party from its nineteenth century origins in the Labour Movement, through the twentieth century, until the years under Tony Blair. He claims that New Labour in power evolved as a revisionist social democratic government and traces its search for new political ideas both to the New Right and Old Labour. Using interviews with former Labour politicians, advisers and academics, he presents an original and comprehensive analysis of Labour's political philosophy.
What would it be for a process to happen backwards in time? Would such a process involve different causal relations? It is common to understand the time-reversal invariance of a physical theory in causal terms, such that whatever can happen forwards in time can also happen backwards in time. This has led many to hold that time-reversal symmetry is incompatible with the asymmetry of cause and effect. This article critiques the causal reading of time reversal. First, I argue that the (...) causal reading requires time-reversal-related models to be understood as representing distinct possible worlds and, on such a reading, causal relations are compatible with time-reversal symmetry. Second, I argue that the former approach does, however, raise serious sceptical problems regarding the causal relations of paradigm causal processes and as a consequence there are overwhelming reasons to prefer a non-causal reading of time reversal, whereby time reversal leaves causal relations invariant. On the non-causal reading, time-reversal symmetry poses no significant conceptual nor epistemological problems for causation. _1_ Introduction _1.1_ The directionality argument _1.2_ Time reversal _2_ What Does Time Reversal Reverse? _2.1_ The B- and C-theory of time _2.2_ Time reversal on the C-theory _2.3_ Answers _3_ Does Time Reversal Reverse Causal Relations? _3.1_ Causation, billiards, and snooker _3.2_ The epistemology of causal direction _3.3_ Answers _4_ Is Time-Reversal Symmetry Compatible with Causation? _4.1_ Incompatibilism _4.2_ Compatibilism _4.3_ Answers _5_ Outlook. (shrink)
John Locke’s _An Essay Concerning Human Understanding_ begins with a clear statement of an epistemological goal: to explain the limits of human knowledge, opinion, and ignorance. The actual text of the _Essay_, in stark contrast, takes a long and seemingly meandering path before returning to that goal at the _Essay_’s end—one with many detours through questions in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of language. Over time, Locke scholarship has come to focus on Locke’s contributions to these parts of philosophy. (...) In _Locke’s Science of Knowledge_, Priselac refocuses on the _Essay_’s epistemological thread, arguing that the _Essay_ is unified from beginning to end around its compositional theory of ideas and the active role Locke gives the mind in constructing its thoughts. To support the plausibility and demonstrate the value of this interpretation, Priselac argues that—contrary to its reputation as being at best sloppy and at worst outright inconsistent—Locke’s discussion of skepticism and account of knowledge of the external world fits neatly within the Essay’s epistemology. (shrink)
This paper argues that a sweatshop worker's choice to accept the conditions of his or her employment is morally significant, both as an exercise of autonomy and as an expression of preference. This fact establishes a moral claim against interference in the conditions of sweatshop labor by third parties such as governments or consumer boycott groups. It should also lead us to doubt those who call for MNEs to voluntarily improve working conditions, at least when their arguments are based on (...) the claim that workers have a moral right to such improvement. These conclusions are defended against three objections: 1) that sweatshop workers' consent to the conditions of their labor is not fully voluntary, 2) that sweatshops' offer of additional labor options is part of an overall package that actually harms workers, 3) that even if sweatshop labor benefits workers, it is nevertheless wrongfully exploitative. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Appley and Stoutenburg present two new objections to Explanationist Evidentialism : the Regress Objection and the Threshold Objection. In this paper, I develop a version of EE that is independently plausible and empirically grounded, and show that it can meet Appley and Stoutenburg’s objections.
Australian law has arguably given expression to three moral duties relating to induced assumptions: the duty to keep promises, the duty not to lie and the duty to ensure the reliability of induced assumptions. This book expounds the third of these duties and shows how it can be used to shape equitable estoppel, a doctrine emerging from the decisions of the High Court of Australia in Waltons Stores and Verwayen. It does not purport to cover the entire law of estoppel, (...) but does examine, analytically, how the doctrine might operate in a series of problematic cases at the edge of contract law. (shrink)
Sensation is a concept with a conflicted philosophical history. It has found as many allies as enemies in nearly every camp from empiricism to poststructuralism. Polyvalent, with an uncertain referent, and often overshadowed by intuition, perception, or cognition, sensation invites as much metaphysical speculation as it does dismissive criticism. -/- The promise of sensation has certainly not been lost on the phenomenologists who have sought to ‘rehabilitate’ the concept. In Plastic Bodies, Tom Sparrow argues that the phenomenologists have not gone (...) far enough, however. Alongside close readings of Merleau-Ponty and Levinas, he digs into an array of ancient, modern, and contemporary texts in search of the resources needed to rebuild the concept of sensation after phenomenology. He begins to assemble a speculative aesthetics that is at once a realist theory of sensation and a philosophy of embodiment that breaks the form of the ‘lived’ body. Maintaining that the body is fundamentally plastic and that corporeal identity is constituted by a conspiracy of sensations, he pursues the question of how the body fits into/fails to fit into its aesthetic environment and what must be done to increase the body’s power to act and exist. (shrink)
_Psychoanalysis in the Age of Totalitarianism_ provides rich new insights into the history of political thought and clinical knowledge. In these chapters, internationally renowned historians and cultural theorists discuss landmark debates about the uses and abuses of ‘the talking cure’ and map the diverse psychologies and therapeutic practices that have featured in and against tyrannical, modern regimes. These essays show both how the Freudian movement responded to and was transformed by the rise of fascism and communism, the Second World War, (...) and the Cold War, and how powerful new ideas about aggression, destructiveness, control, obedience and psychological freedom were taken up in the investigation of politics. They identify important intersections between clinical debate, political analysis, and theories of minds and groups, and trace influential ideas about totalitarianism that took root in modern culture after 1918, and still resonate in the twenty-first century. At the same time, they suggest how the emergent discourses of ‘totalitarian’ society were permeated by visions of the unconscious. Topics include: the psychoanalytic theorizations of anti-Semitism; the psychological origins and impact of Nazism; the post-war struggle to rebuild liberal democracy; state-funded experiments in mind control in Cold War America; coercive ‘re-education’ programmes in Eastern Europe, and the role of psychoanalysis in the politics of decolonization. A concluding trio of chapters argues, in various ways, for the continuing relevance of psychoanalysis, and of these mid-century debates over the psychology of power, submission and freedom in modern mass society. Psychoanalysis in the Age of Totalitarianism will prove compelling for both specialists and readers with a general interest in modern psychology, politics, culture and society, and in psychoanalysis. The material is relevant for academics and post-graduate students in the human, social and political sciences, the clinical professions, the historical profession and the humanities more widely. (shrink)
Does having a mental disorder, in general, affect whether someone is morally responsible for an action? Many people seem to think so, holding that mental disorders nearly always mitigate responsibility. Against this Naïve view, we argue for a Nuanced account. The problem is not just that different theories of responsibility yield different verdicts about particular cases. Even when all reasonable theories agree about what's relevant to responsibility, the ways mental illness can affect behavior are so varied that a more nuanced (...) approach is needed. (shrink)
The goal of this paper is to defend Simple Modest Invariantism (SMI) about knowledge from the threat presented by pragmatic encroachment. Pragmatic encroachment is the view that practical circumstances are relevant in some way to the truth of knowledge ascriptions—and if this is true, it would entail the falsity of SMI. Drawing on Ross and Schroeder’s recent Reasoning Disposition account of belief, I argue that the Reasoning Disposition account, together with Grice’s Maxims, gives us an attractive pragmatic account of the (...) connection between knowledge ascriptions and practical circumstances. This gives us the ability to explain away the data that is supposed to support pragmatic encroachment. Finally, I address three important objections to the view offered by giving a pragmatic account of when it is conversationally appropriate to cancel a conversational implicature, and discussing when sentences with true content can end up sounding false as well as cases where sentences with false content can end up sounding true. (shrink)
The prominence of Bayesian modeling of cognition has increased recently largely because of mathematical advances in specifying and deriving predictions from complex probabilistic models. Much of this research aims to demonstrate that cognitive behavior can be explained from rational principles alone, without recourse to psychological or neurological processes and representations. We note commonalities between this rational approach and other movements in psychology that set aside mechanistic explanations or make use of optimality assumptions. Through these comparisons, we identify a number of (...) challenges that limit the rational program's potential contribution to psychological theory. Specifically, rational Bayesian models are significantly unconstrained, both because they are uninformed by a wide range of process-level data and because their assumptions about the environment are generally not grounded in empirical measurement. The psychological implications of most Bayesian models are also unclear. Bayesian inference itself is conceptually trivial, but strong assumptions are often embedded in the hypothesis sets and the approximation algorithms used to derive model predictions, without a clear delineation between psychological commitments and implementational details. Comparing multiple Bayesian models of the same task is rare, as is the realization that many Bayesian models recapitulate existing (mechanistic level) theories. Despite the expressive power of current Bayesian models, we argue they must be developed in conjunction with mechanistic considerations to offer substantive explanations of cognition. We lay out several means for such an integration, which take into account the representations on which Bayesian inference operates, as well as the algorithms and heuristics that carry it out. We argue this unification will better facilitate lasting contributions to psychological theory, avoiding the pitfalls that have plagued previous theoretical movements. (shrink)
In this paper, I develop a new interpretation of Quine’s epistemology in the hopes of clarifying the relationship between naturalized epistemology and traditional epistemology. Quine’s naturalized epistemology is commonly criticized on the grounds that it amounts to giving up on traditional epistemological projects in favor of projects in natural science. But, I argue, this criticism rests on a mistaken interpretation of Quine’s epistemology. This is because Quine’s naturalized epistemology retains an important meliorative component; part of its aim is to improve (...) our systems of beliefs. Quine’s approach emphasizes improving our beliefs by engaging in conceptual clarification, which is a central part of both traditional and naturalized epistemology, as well as, on Quine’s conception, scientific inquiry. Thus, I argue, a central task of naturalized epistemology is to clarify science from within. Once this is properly understood, it is evident that Quine’s naturalized epistemology constitutes a re-orientation, rather than a wholesale rejection, of the projects of traditional epistemology. (shrink)
Political theorists have long criticized policies that deny voting rights to convicted felons. However, some have recently turned to democratic theory to defend this practice, arguing that democratic self-determination justifies, or even requires, disenfranchising felons. I review these new arguments, acknowledge their force against existing criticism, and then offer a new critique of disenfranchisement that engages them on their own terms. Using democratic theory’s “all-subjected principle,” I argue that liberal democracies undermine their own legitimacy when they deny the vote to (...) felons and prisoners. I then show how this argument overcomes obstacles that cause problems for other critiques of disenfranchisement. (shrink)
Error theorists hold that, although our first-order moral thought and discourse commits us to the existence of moral truths, there are no such truths. Holding this position in metaethics puts the error theorist in an uncomfortable position regarding first-order morality. When it comes to our pre-theoretic moral commitments, what should the error theorist think? What should she say? What should she do? I call this the ‘Now What’ Problem for error theory. This paper suggests a framework for evaluating different approaches (...) to the ‘Now What’ Problem, and goes on to evaluate the three most common responses to this problem. All three are found to have noteworthy problems. Finally, I present my own solution, and argue that it presents the most appealing solution to the ‘Now What’ Problem. (shrink)
“The universe is expanding, not contracting.” Many statements of this form appear unambiguously true; after all, the discovery of the universe’s expansion is one of the great triumphs of empirical science. However, the statement is time-directed: the universe expands towards what we call the future; it contracts towards the past. If we deny that time has a direction, should we also deny that the universe is really expanding? This article draws together and discusses what I call ‘C-theories’ of time — (...) in short, philosophical positions that hold time lacks a direction — from different areas of the literature. I set out the various motivations, aims, and problems for C-theories, and outline different versions of antirealism about the direction of time. (shrink)
Experiences of motion and change are widely taken to have a ‘flow-like’ quality. Call this ‘temporal qualia’. Temporal qualia are commonly thought to be central to the question of whether time objectively passes: (1) passage realists take temporal passage to be necessary in order for us to have the temporal qualia we do; (2) passage antirealists typically concede that time appears to pass, as though our temporal qualia falsely represent time as passing. I reject both claims and make the case (...) that passage-talk plays no useful explanatory role with respect to temporal qualia, but rather obfuscates what the philosophical problem of temporal qualia is. I offer a ‘reductionist’ account of temporal qualia that makes no reference to the concept of passage and argue that it is well motivated by empirical studies in motion perception. (shrink)
“We are animals.” That’s what animalists say—that’s their slogan. But what animalists mean by their slogan varies. Many animalists are adamant that what they mean—and, indeed, what the true animalist thesis is—is that we are identical to animals (human animals, to be precise). But others say that’s not enough. They say that the animalist thesis has to be something more—perhaps that we are essentially or most fundamentally human animals. This paper argues that, depending on how we understand it, animalism is (...) either false or uninteresting. If animalism is just the claim that we are identical to animals, then it is uninteresting. For it doesn’t provide an answer to the question it’s meant to address. On the other hand, if animalism entails a stronger claim, such as that we are essentially animals, then animalism is false. Either way, we should set animalism aside. (shrink)
Modern physics has provided a range of motivations for holding time to be fundamentally undirected. But how does a temporally adirectional metaphysics, or ‘C-theory’ of time, fit with the time of experience? In this chapter, I look at what kind of problem human time poses for C-theories. First, I ask whether there is a ‘hard problem’ of human time: whether it is in principle impossible to have the kinds of experience we do in a temporally adirectional world. Second I consider (...) the ‘easy problem’: how specific directed aspects of our temporal experience are to be explained by C-theorists. This leads to a greater issue: is there such a thing as an experience of time direction at all to even be explained? I show how the kinds of experience we have that we typically associate with the idea of time being directed can be accommodated within a directionless picture of time. (shrink)
The ‘virtue as skill’ thesis is gaining traction lately both in virtue ethics and virtue epistemology, and a significant part of that is due to Julia Annas’s work in reviving this thesis from the ancient Greeks.2 As Annas has argued, “[t]he intuitive appeal of the ancient skill analogy for virtue rests on the idea that one practical activity – acting well – is like another prominent practical activity, working well.”3 I will be adding to the development of the ‘virtue as (...) skill’ thesis, by grounding an account of skill within the larger framework of the psychological research on self-regulation, as skill acquisition is essentially a sophisticated form of self-regulation. This approach can shed further light on the nature of skill and thereby virtue. (shrink)
In 1912, Ernst Cassirer contributed to the special issue of the Kant-Studien that honored Hermann Cohen's retirement—his mentor and teacher, and the recognized founding father of the so-called 'Marburg school' of Neo-Kantianism. In the context of an otherwise rather conventional presentation of Cohen's interpretation of Kant, Cassirer made a remark that is initially surprising. It is “anything but accurate,” he wrote, to regard Cohen's philosophy as focused “exclusively on the mathematical theory of nature,” as is usually done. A reconstruction of (...) the genesis of Cohen's thought, Cassirer continued, would already refute this interpretation. Actually, “[t]he... (shrink)