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.
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)
We evaluate people all the time for a wide variety of activities. We blame them for miscalculations, uninspired art, and committing crimes. We praise them for detailed brushwork, a superb pass, and their acts of kindness. We accomplish things, from solving crosswords to mastering guitar solos. We bungle our endeavors, whether this is letting a friend down or burning dinner. Sometimes these deeds are morally significant, but many times they are not. Simply Responsible defends the radical proposal that the blameworthy (...) artist is responsible in just the same way that the blameworthy thief is. We can be responsible for all kinds of different activities, from lip-synching to long division, from murders to meringues, but the relation involved, what author Matt King calls the basic responsibility relation, is the same in every case. We are responsible for the things we do first, then blameworthy or praiseworthy for having done them in light of whether they're good or bad, according to a variety of standards. Why is this a radical proposal? Firstly, because so much of the contemporary literature on moral responsibility has moralized its nature. According to most accounts, moral responsibility is either a special species of responsibility or else depends on moralized capacities. In contrast, King argues that we get a more complete and unifying picture of responsible agency from a more general theory of responsibility. Secondly, the proposal is radical due to its drastic simplicity. King foregoes many of the complications that feature in other accounts of responsibility, arguing that we can make do with less demanding theoretical elements. (shrink)
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)
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 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)
This “fun, brain-twisting book... will make you think” as it explores more than 75 paradoxes in mathematics, philosophy, physics, and the social sciences (Sean Carroll, New York Times–bestselling author of Something Deeply Hidden) Paradox is a sophisticated kind of magic trick. A magician’s purpose is to create the appearance of impossibility, to pull a rabbit from an empty hat. Yet paradox doesn’t require tangibles, like rabbits or hats. Paradox works in the abstract, with words and concepts and symbols, to create (...) the illusion of contradiction. There are no contradictions in reality, but there can appear to be. In Sleight of Mind, Matt Cook and a few collaborators dive deeply into more than 75 paradoxes in mathematics, physics, philosophy, and the social sciences. As each paradox is discussed and resolved, Cook helps readers discover the meaning of knowledge and the proper formation of concepts—and how reason can dispel the illusion of contradiction. The journey begins with “a most ingenious paradox” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance. Readers will then travel from Ancient Greece to cutting-edge laboratories, encounter infinity and its different sizes, and discover mathematical impossibilities inherent in elections. They will tackle conundrums in probability, induction, geometry, and game theory; perform “supertasks”; build apparent perpetual motion machines; meet twins living in different millennia; explore the strange quantum world—and much more. (shrink)
Notions of democracy and nationhood constitute the pivotal legacy of the American Revolution, but to understand their development one must move beyond a purely American context. Citizens of a Common Intellectual Homeland explores the simultaneous emergence of modern concepts of democracy and the nation on both sides of the Atlantic during the age of revolutions. Armin Mattes argues that in their origin the two concepts were indistinguishable because they arose from a common revolutionary impulse directed against the prevailing hierarchical political (...) and social order. The author shows how the reconceptualization of democracy and the nation, which resulted from this revolutionary impulse, received its decisive form from the French Revolution. Although the French Revolution was instrumental in redefining the two terms, however, neither were these changes confined to France, nor did the new meanings merely radiate from France to other countries. To illustrate the transatlantic emergence of these ideas, Mattes considers the works of pairs of prominent intellectual contemporaries--one in America and the other in Europe--each writing on a common topic. The thinkers and topics include Thomas Paine and Edmund Burke on the transatlantic revolutions, John Adams and Friedrich von Gentz on the mixed constitution, James Madison and Immanuel Kant on perpetual peace, and Thomas Jefferson and Destutt de Tracy on the nation. Mattes's approach highlights the significant impact that the French Revolution had on the evolution of thought in the period, demonstrating that the emergence and early development of modern concepts of democracy and the nation in America were intimately tied to revolutionary events and processes in the larger Atlantic world. Preparation of this volume has been supported by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation. Jeffersonian America. (shrink)
I consider the question of the possibility of the coexistence of neighborly love (love for strangers) and preferential love (love for persons because of or despite their attributes). This question has long perplexed interpreters of Kierkegaard. I make a threefold intervention into this interpretive debate. First, I aim to show that we shouldn’t privilege preferential love over neighborly love. Second, I reformulate preferential and neighborly love on a ‘topological’ model, so as to get a better grip on them. And third, (...) I argue that preferential love can coexist with neighborly love insofar as the latter is granted primacy over the former. (shrink)
The Reliability Challenge to moral non-naturalism has received substantial attention recently in the literature on moral epistemology. While the popularity of this particular challenge is a recent development, the challenge has a long history, as the form of this challenge can be traced back to a skeptical challenge in the philosophy of mathematics raised by Paul Benacerraf. The current Reliability Challenge is widely regarded as the most sophisticated way to develop this skeptical line of thinking, making the Reliability Challenge the (...) strongest epistemic challenge to normative nonnaturalism. In this paper, I argue that the innovations that have occurred since Benacerraf’s statement of the challenge are misconceived and confused in a number of ways. The Reliability Challenge is not the most potent epistemic challenge to moral non-naturalism. The most potent challenge comes from the fact that there is a causal condition on knowledge – or, more precisely, a becaual condition – that non-natural moral facts cannot satisfy. (shrink)
The first of the new Theory and History series, Matt Perry's punchy andaccessible volume examines Marxism's enormous impact on the way historians approach their subject. Perry offers both a concise introduction to the Marxist view of history and Marxism historical writing, and a guide to its relevance to students' own work.
There are many philosophical problems surrounding experts, given the power and status accorded to them in society. We think that what makes someone an expert is having expertise in some skill domain. But what does expertise consist in, and how closely related is expertise to the notion of an expert? Although most of us have acquired several practical skills, few of us have achieved the level of expertise with regard to those skills. So we can be easily misled as to (...) the nature of expertise, since it differs significantly from earlier stages of skill acquisition. Furthermore, this potential for misleading characterizations of skills and expertise leads to philosophers implicitly working with different conceptions of skills. This can interfere with their attempts to solve related problems about experts. In this paper I inquire into the nature of expertise, by drawing on recent psychological research on skill acquisition and expert performance. In addition, I connect this research on expertise to the larger context of psychological research on human cognition, as it will illuminate some of the differing elements of expertise. This allows me to then critique philosophical accounts of expertise, by showing how they make unwarranted assumptions about skills and expertise. Finally, I note the ways in which being credited as an expert can diverge from the possession of expertise itself. This can help us resist some of the power dynamics involved with those deemed to be experts. (shrink)
In this paper we attempt to advance the enactive discourse on perception by highlighting the role of bodily affects as prenoetic constraints on perceptual experience. Enactivists argue for an essential connection between perception and action, where action primarily means skillful bodily intervention in one’s surroundings. Analyses of sensory-motor contingencies (as in Noë 2004) are important contributions to the enactive account. Yet this is an incomplete story since sensory-motor contingencies are of no avail to the perceiving agent without motivational pull in (...) one direction or another or a sense of the pertinent affective contingencies. Before directly addressing the issue of affect in perception, we explain our peculiar, low-level conception of affect as a form of world-involving intentionality that modulates (minimally) bodily behavior without necessarily possessing informational value of any kind. We then address the deficiency concerning affect in enactive accounts of perception by examining some exemplary forms of bodily affect that constrain perception. We show that bodily affect significantly contributes to (either limiting or enabling) our contact with the world in our perceptually operative attentive outlook, in a kind of perceptual interest or investment, and in social perception. (shrink)
Recently, a number of cases have been proposed which seem to show that – contrary to widely held opinion – a subject can inferentially come to know some proposition p from an inference which relies on a false belief q which is essential. The standard response to these cases is to insist that there is really an additional true belief in the vicinity, making the false belief inessential. I present a new kind of case suggesting that a subject can inferentially (...) come to know a proposition from an essential false belief where no truth in the vicinity seems to be present. (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.
In the last few years repeated scandals have rocked their worlds of many industries. Stories which have hit the headlines recently have included news of * Deliberate cheating by car makers to evade emissions tests * LIBOR and FX manipulation by bankers * Falsification of drug testing results plus allegations of bribery and corruption in major pharmaceutical corporations * Unlawful tapping of phones of the famous by newspapers * Cover-ups over high death rates in hospitals. While it is not always (...) obvious what has gone wrong, there is no disguising the widespread impact on many stakeholders, and the catastrophic loss of trust and sense of betrayal that results. Matt Nixon has had a privileged insider seat in several of the organizations which came to suffer major crises, crises which inspired deep emotional responses. (shrink)
It is often said that the world is explained by laws of nature together with initial conditions. But does that mean initial conditions don’t require further explanation? And does the explanatory role played by initial conditions entail or require that time has a preferred direction? This chapter looks at the use of the ‘initialness defence’ in physics, the idea that initial conditions are intrinsically special in that they don’t require further explanation, unlike the state of the world at other times. (...) Such defences commonly assume a primitive directionality of time to distinguish between initial and final conditions. Using the case study of the time-asymmetry of thermodynamics and the so-called ‘past hypothesis’ — the hypothesis that the early universe was in a state of very low entropy —, I outline and support a deflationary account of the initialness defence that does not pre- suppose a basic directionality of time, and argue that there is a relevant explanatory asymmetry between initial conditions and the state of systems at other times only if certain causal conditions are satisfied. Hence, the initialness defence is available to those who reject a fundamental direction of time. (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)
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)
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)
This essay discusses the role that welcoming and hospitality play in communal and political life, and the role they ought to play. It also considers the relationship between ethics in its concern for hospitality to those who are different and politics in its concern for collective understanding and the solidification of group identities.
There are many philosophical problems surrounding experts, given the power and status accorded to them in society. We think that what makes someone an expert is having expertise in some skill domain. But what does expertise consist in, and how closely related is expertise to the notion of an expert? In this paper I inquire into the nature of expertise, by drawing on recent psychological research on skill acquisition and expert performance. In addition, I connect this research on expertise to (...) the larger context of psychological research on human cognition, as it will illuminate some of the differing elements of expertise. This allows me to then critique philosophical accounts of expertise, by showing how they make unwarranted assumptions about skills and expertise. Finally, I note the ways in which being credited as an expert can diverge from the possession of expertise itself. This can help us resist some of the power dynamics involved with those deemed to be experts. (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)
_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)
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)
Subjects perceived touch sensations as arising from a table (or a rubber hand) when both the table (or the rubber hand) and their own real hand were repeatedly tapped and stroked in synchrony with the real hand hidden from view. If the table or rubber hand was then ‘injured’, subjects displayed a strong skin conductance response (SCR) even though nothing was done to the real hand. Sensations could even be projected to anatomically impossible locations. The illusion was much less vivid, (...) as indicated by subjective reports and SCR, if the real hand was simultaneously visible during stroking, or if the real hand was hidden but touched asynchronously. The fact that the illusion could be significantly diminished when the real hand was simultaneously visible suggests that the illusion and associated SCRs were due to perceptual assimilation of the table (or rubber hand) into one’s body image rather than associative conditioning. These experiments demonstrate the malleability of body image and the brain’s remarkable capacity for detecting statistical correlations in the sensory input. (shrink)
Why do some people always see the bright side, stay positive, and find fulfilment and joy in their lives? Avery outlines fifty key concepts and strategies to help you put the secrets of happiness into practice.
This is a collection of essays from contemporary philosophers, artists, and writers on the intersection of speculative philosophy and speculative horror fiction. The book contains fourteen essays and an introduction. I edited the book and wrote the introduction. Topics considered include human extinction; anonymity, otherness, and alienation; whether horror is a genre; and the relationship between speculation and Kant’s critical philosophy.
IT IS POSSIBLE to discern three main types of answers commonly given to the question about the nature of sensations. The first is the classical "private access" theory, according to which I can sense my own pain, while the pains of others can never be subject to direct inspection by me. The presence of overt pain behavior may inductively confirm the hypothesis that the body thus behaving is besouled [[sic]] and subject to a sensation of pain, but I can never (...) be sure that such pain really exists. I can feel only my own pain, and every pain I feel is necessarily my own. One token of this view is Cartesian dualism, but it is also adopted by most kinds of interactionism, epiphenomenalism, and their ilk. One of the notorious consequences of this theory is, that it makes the problem of Other Minds practically insoluble. Do the other humanoids have minds like my own, do they experience raw feelings similar to mine? The question remains logically unanswerable. The argument from analogy was often shown to be very tenuous, and one is therefore driven to accept the conclusion that sensation words must mean one thing in the context of egocentric sentences and quite another thing when the subject of the sentence is other than I. But if this is the case, mentalistic attributes proper are only I-ascriptive: that is, it would be a logical howler to apply them to anything other than myself; grammar thus forces me to adopt a position similar to that of the solipsist. (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)
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)
This thesis introduces and defends a ‘C theory’ of time. The metaphysics of time literature is primarily concerned with the distinction between the A and B theories of time, with the disagreement concerning whether the passage of time is an objective feature of reality. I argue that the distinction between the B and C theories—in terms of whether time has a ‘privileged’ direction—is of more obvious relevance to the philosophy of physics than is the distinction between the A and B (...) theories. The thesis has three main contentions. (1) In order to maintain a substantial metaphysical dispute between the different theories of time, they must be defined in terms of structural properties, and the naturalistic metaphysics of time direction involves the assessment of these structures in light of contemporary physics. (2) The A theory of time requires a model with two temporal dimensions, and although such a model provides a resolution to a number of problems faced by standard A theories, it is not motivated by physical theory. (3) The dispute between the B and C theories of time is of direct relevance to the philosophy of physics: the B theorist’s assumption of the existence of a privileged temporal direction is of explanatory relevance to physics; and a comparison between unidirectional and adirectional explanations in physics can in principle shed light on whether time is B- or C-theoretic. (shrink)
The unconscious, cornerstone of psychoanalysis, was a key twentieth-century concept and retains an enormous influence on psychological and cultural theory. Yet there is a surprising lack of investigation into its roots in the critical philosophy and Romantic psychology of the early nineteenth century, long before Freud. Why did the unconscious emerge as such a powerful idea? And why at that point? This interdisciplinary study breaks new ground in tracing the emergence of the unconscious through the work of philosopher Friedrich Schelling, (...) examining his association with Romantic psychologists, anthropologists and theorists of nature. It sets out the beginnings of a neglected tradition of the unconscious psyche and proposes a compelling new argument: that the unconscious develops from the modern need to theorise individual independence. The book assesses the impact of this tradition on psychoanalysis itself, re-reading Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams in the light of broader post-Enlightenment attempts to theorise individuality. (shrink)
Though one of anti-intellectualism’s key historical figures, Henri Bergson’s thought has not played a significant role in ongoing discussions of that topic. This paper attempts to help change this situation by discussing the notion at the centre of Bergson’s anti-intellectualism (namely, intuition) alongside the notion at the centre of a central form of contemporary anti-intellectualism (namely, know-how or skill). In doing so, it focuses on perhaps the most common objection to both Bergson and contemporary anti-intellectualists: that their anti-intellectualisms are rather (...) forms of irrationalism. It argues that in fact only a narrow charge of irrationalism applies to Bergsonian intuition and that a form of contemporary anti-intellectualism may offer help in responding to this remaining accusation. (shrink)
Price gouging occurs when, in the wake of an emergency, sellers of a certain necessary goods sharply raise their prices beyond the level needed to cover increased costs. Most people think that price gouging is immoral, and most states have laws rendering the practice a civil or criminal offense. The purpose of this paper is to explore some of the philosophic issues surrounding price gouging, and to argue that the common moral condemnation of it is largely mistaken. I make this (...) argument in three steps, by rebutting three widely held beliefs about the ethics of price gouging: 1) that laws prohibiting price gouging are morally justified, 2) that price gouging is morally impermissible behavior, even if it ought not be illegal, and 3) that price gouging reflects poorly on the moral character of those who engage in it, even if the act itself is not morally impermissible. (shrink)
Several commentators have recently attributed conflicting accounts of the relation between veridical perceptual experience and hallucination to Husserl. Some say he is a proponent of the conjunctive view that the two kinds of experience are fundamentally the same. Others deny this and purport to find in Husserl distinct and non-overlapping accounts of their fundamental natures, thus committing him to a disjunctive view. My goal is to set the record straight. Having briefly laid out the problem under discussion and the terms (...) of the debate, I then review the proposals that have been advanced, disposing of some and marking others for further consideration. A.D. Smith’s disjunctive reading is among the latter. I discuss it at length, arguing that Smith fails to show that Husserl’s views on perceptual experience entail a form of disjunctivism. Following that critical discussion, I present a case for a conjunctive reading of Husserl’s account of perceptual experience. (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)
Subjectivity is that feature of consciousness whereby there is something it is like for a subject to undergo an experience. One persistent challenge in the study of consciousness is to explain how subjectivity relates to, or arises from, purely physical brain processes. But, in order to address this challenge, it seems we must have a clear explanation of what subjectivity is in the first place. This has proven challenging in its own right. For the nature of subjectivity itself seems to (...) resist straightforward characterization. In this paper, I won't address how subjectivity relates to the physical. Instead, I'll address subjectivity itself. I'll do this by introducing and defending a model of subjectivity based on self-acquaintance. My model does not purport to reduce, eliminate, or naturalize subjectivity, but it does make subjectivity more tractable, less paradoxical, and perhaps less dubious to those averse to obscurity. (shrink)