Kyle Stanford’s reformulation of the problem of underdetermination has the potential to highlight the epistemic obligations of scientists. Stanford, however, presents the phenomenon of unconceived alternatives as a problem for realists, despite critics’ insistence that we have contextual explanations for scientists’ failure to conceive of their successors’ theories. I propose that responsibilist epistemology and the concept of “role oughts,” as discussed by Lorraine Code and Richard Feldman, can pacify Stanford’s critics and reveal broader relevance of the “new induction.” The possibility (...) of unconceived alternatives pushes us to question our contemporary expectation for scientists to reason outside of their historical moment. (shrink)
Scholars have failed to adequately distinguish Kant’s grades of evil: frailty (weakness of will), impurity, and depravity. I argue that the only way to distinguish them is, f irstly, to recognize that frailty is explicitly, practically irrational and not caused by any sort of self-deception. Instead, it is caused by the radical evil that Kant finds within the character of all persons. Secondly, impurity can only be understood to be self-deception either about the nature of the act itself, which results (...) in an epistemic error, or about one’s motivations for following a properly reasoned, moral conclusion, which results in a motivational error. Thirdly, depravity is self-deception about morality itself, by which the agent believes that it is morally right to follow self-love. (shrink)
In this article, we present an ethics framework for health practice in humanitarian and development work: the ethics of engaged presence. The ethics of engaged presence framework aims to articulate in a systematic fashion approaches and orientations that support the engagement of expatriate health care professionals in ways that align with diverse obligations and responsibilities, and promote respectful and effective action and relationships. Drawn from a range of sources, the framework provides a vocabulary and narrative structure for examining the moral (...) dimensions of providing development or humanitarian health assistance to individuals and communities, and working with and alongside local and international actors. The elements also help minimize or avoid certain miscalculations and harms. Emphasis is placed on the shared humanity of those who provide and those who receive assistance, acknowledgement of limits and risks related to the contributions of expatriate health care professionals, and the importance of providing skillful and relevant assistance. These elements articulate a moral posture for expatriate health care professionals that contributes to orienting the practice of clinicians in ways that reflect respect, humility, and solidarity. Health care professionals whose understanding and actions are consistent with the ethics of engaged presence will be oriented toward introspection and reflective practice and toward developing, sustaining and promoting collaborative partnerships. (shrink)
Here I discuss the conceptual structure and core semantic commitments of reason-involving thought and discourse needed to underwrite the claim that ethical normativity is not uniquely queer. This deflates a primary source of ethical scepticism and it vindicates so-called partner in crime arguments. When it comes to queerness objections, all reason-implicating normative claims?including those concerning Humean reasons to pursue one's ends, and epistemic reasons to form true beliefs?stand or fall together.
This paper critically examines coincidence arguments and evolutionary debunking arguments against non-naturalist realism in metaethics. It advances a version of these arguments that goes roughly like this: Given a non-naturalist, realist metaethic, it would be cosmically coincidental if our first order normative beliefs were true. This coincidence undermines any prima facie justification enjoyed by those beliefs.
I propose that we interpret Kant’s argument from incongruent counterparts in the 1768 article ‘Concerning the Ultimate Ground of the Differentiation of Directions in Space’ in light of a theory of dynamic absolute space that he accepted throughout the 1750s and 1760s. This force-based or material conception of space was not an unusual interpretation of the Newtonian notion of absolute space. Nevertheless, commentators have continually argued that Kant’s argument is an utter failure that shifts from the metaphysics of space to (...) its epistemology, because he has no way to connect ‘directionality’ and ‘handedness’ to absolute space. This supposed failure is based on an understanding of absolute space in purely mathematical terms and as an absolute void that lacks any qualitative or dynamic features. If we recognize that Kant held that space had an intrinsic directional asymmetry then his argument successfully connects incongruent counterparts to absolute space. The presence of this notion in Kant’s pre-Critical thought is rarely noted, and its necessity in understanding his incongruence argument is novel. (shrink)
This paper considers normative naturalism, understood as the view that (i) normative sentences are descriptive of the way things are, and (ii) their truth/falsity does not require ontology beyond the ontology of the natural world. Assuming (i) for the sake of argument, I here show that (ii) is false not only as applied to ethics, but more generally as applied to practical and epistemic normativity across the board. The argument is a descendant of Moore's Open Question Argument and Hume's Is-Ought (...) Gap. It goes roughly as follows: to ensure that natural ontology suffices for normative truth, there must be semantically grounded entailments from the natural truths to the normative truths. There are none. So natural ontology does not suffice for normative truth. (shrink)
Having no recourse to ways of knowing about the natural world, ethical non-naturalists are in need of an epistemology that might apply to a normative breed of facts or properties, and intuitionism seems well suited to fill that bill. Here I argue that the metaphysical inspiration for ethical intuitionism undermines that very epistemology, for this pair of views generates what I call the defeater from cosmic coincidence. Unfortunately, we face not a happy union, but a difficult choice: either ethical intuitionism (...) or ethical non-naturalism, but not both. (shrink)
This article delineates the core concerns and motivations of the ontological work of Gilles Deleuze, and is intended as a programmatic statement for a general philosophical audience. The article consists of two main parts. In the first, two early writings by Deleuze are analysed in order to clarify his understanding of ontology broadly, and to specify the precise aim of his understanding of being in terms of difference. The second part of the article looks at the work of Heidegger and (...) Derrida in order to distinguish Deleuze's conceptions of ontology and difference from theirs. A final section clarifies Deleuze's efforts to undertake the construction of an ontology divergent from the dominant tradition and in contrast to the emphasis on the closure of metaphysics in the thought of Heidegger and Derrida. (shrink)
It often seems that what one ought to do depends on what contingent ends one has adopted and the means to pursuing them. Imagine, for example, that you are applying for jobs, and a particularly attractive one comes your way. It offers excellent colleagues in a desirable location, the pay is good, and acquiring a job like this is one of your ends. If practicing your job talk is a means to getting the job, the following seems true: (1) If (...) you want1 to get the job, then you ought to practice your job talk. Let us call conditional ought sentences that purport to express an end in the antecedent and a means to the end in the consequent end-given oughts. Some end-given oughts run into the problem of detachment; i.e., some end-given oughts seem true, and yet we do not think the consequent by itself, detached from the conditional, is true even if the antecedent is true. Consider a case where you want revenge on Bill for some slight offense. You happen to have the opportunity to poison Bill’s drink while he is away, which is the only thing that would lead to his demise. What of: (2) If you want to kill Bill, then you ought to poison his drink. (2) runs up against the problem of detachment because of the following modus ponens argument: • If you want to kill Bill, then you ought to poison his drink. • You want to kill Bill. • Therefore, you ought to poison his drink. In fact, you ought not poison Bill’s drink. You ought to avoid him and seek counseling. (shrink)
There are ways that ethical intuitions might be, and the various possibilities have epistemic ramifications. This paper criticizes some extant accounts of what ethical intuitions are and how they justify, and it offers an alternative account. Roughly, an ethical intuition that p is a kind of seeming state constituted by a consideration whether p, attended by positive phenomenological qualities that count as evidence for p, and so a reason to believe that p. They are distinguished from other kinds of seemings, (...) such as those which are content driven (e.g., the sensory experience that a stick in water seems bent) and those which are competence driven (e.g., the intellectual seeming that XYZ is not water, or that one of DeMorgan’s laws is true). One important conclusion is this: when crafting a positive theory of justification ethical intuitionists have fewer resources than intuitionists in other domains, not because of the subject matter of ethical intuitions, but because of the their structure. A second conclusion is that the seemings featured in substantive ethical intuitions deliver relatively weak justification as compared to other seeming states. (shrink)
It is popularly believed that British anarchism underwent a ‘renaissance’ in the 1960s, as conventional revolutionary tactics were replaced by an ethos of permanent protest. Often associated with Colin Ward and his journal Anarchy, this tactical shift is said to have occurred due to growing awareness of Gustav Landauer's work. This article challenges these readings by focusing on Herbert Read's book Education through Art, a work motivated by Read's dissatisfaction with anarchism's association with political violence. Arguing that aesthetic education could (...) remodel social relationships in a non-hierarchical fashion, Read pioneered the reassessment of revolutionary tactics in the 1940s that is associated with the 1960s generation. His role in these debates has been ignored, but the broader political context of Read's contribution to anarchist theory has also been neglected. The reading of Read's work advanced here recovers his importance to these debates, and highlights the presence of an indigenous strand of radical thought that sought novel solutions for the problems of the age. (shrink)
Normative cognition seems rather important, even ineliminable. Communities that lack normative concepts like SHOULD, IS A REASON TO, JUSTIFIES, etc. seem cognitively handicapped and communicatively muzzled. And yet a popular metaethic, normative naturalism, has a hard time accommodating this felt ineliminability. Here, I press the argument against normative naturalism, consider some replies on behalf of normative naturalists, and suggest that a version of sophisticated subjectivism does the best job preserving the importance and ineliminability of the special, normative way of thinking.
Historically, the most persuasive argument against external reasons proceeds through a rationalist restriction: For all agents A, and all actions Φ, there is a reason for A to Φ only if Φing is rationally accessible from A's actual motivational states. Here I distinguish conceptions of rationality, show which one the internalist must rely on to argue against external reasons, and argue that a rationalist restriction that features that conception of rationality is extremely implausible. Other conceptions of rationality can render the (...) restriction true, but then the restriction simply fails to rule out external reasons. (shrink)
Matthew's Christology is theocentric, presenting God's rule as manifest in the life of Jesus as an alternative to the sovereignty and power of this-worldly rulers. This Christology is expressed in the narrative mode. It can be appreciated and appropriated better in the context of the narratives in which contemporary interpreters are embedded.
The thesis of this essay is that Kant's theory of the “forms of intuition” can be regarded as an account of the structure of our embodied perspective. The ideality and subjectivity of space is concluded to be an account of the perspective relative nature of the figure-ground relationship or how it is that objects emerge for us in empirical experience as being orientated in a spatio-temporal field. Time is regarded similarly as the event-series relationship. The significant role of embodiment in (...) Kant's thought on space and time is explored through a textual analysis of all of Kant's writings on the subject. By recovering the importance of the body to Kant's theoretical philosophy, the ontological implications of his theory of space and time and his idealism can be made more plausible. (shrink)
There are a number of proposals as to exactly how reasons, ends and rationality are related. It is often thought that practical reasons can be analyzed in terms of practical rationality, which, in turn, has something to do with the pursuit of ends. I want to argue against the conceptual priority of rationality and the pursuit of ends, and in favor of the conceptual priority of reasons. This case comes in two parts. I first argue for a new conception of (...) ends by which all ends are had under the guise of reasons. I then articulate a sense of rationality, procedural rationality, that is connected with the pursuit of ends so conceived, where one is rational to the extent that one is motivated to act in accordance with reasons as they appear to be. Unfortunately, these conceptions of ends and procedural rationality are inadequate for building an account of practical reasons, though I try to explain why it is that the rational pursuit of ends generates intuitive but misleading accounts of genuine normative reasons. The crux of the problem is an insensitivity to an is-seems distinction, where procedural rationality concerns reasons as they appear, and what we are after is a substantive sense of rationality that concerns reasons as they are. Based on these distinct senses of rationality, and some disambiguation of what it is to have a reason, I offer a critique of internalist analyses of one’s reasons in terms of the motivational states of one’s ideal, procedurally rational self, and I offer an alternative analysis of one’s practical reasons in terms of practical wisdom that overcomes objections to related reasons externalist views. The resulting theory is roughly Humean about procedural rationality and roughly Aristotelian about reasons, capturing the core truths of both camps. (shrink)
This study begins from the relationship among three sets of passages from Plato's dialogues. The Phaedo, Symposium, and Parmenides are unique in being the only narrated dialogues that are not narrated by Socrates. Additionally, only these dialogue contain accounts of the young Socrates. Finally, each of these accounts are centrally concerned with aspects of ideality. On the basis of these connections, the study is set up as a close reading of these passages specifically with respect to the eidetic in relation (...) to Socrates. ;Chapter One examines Socrates' autobiography in the Phaedo. There are three principal conclusions of this analysis: Socrates demonstrates the implicit and latent ideality contained in the explanations of the physicists and cosmologists; explicit considerations of mind, teleology, and the good are a necessary aspect of constructing explanatory accounts; the fundamental horizon of Socrates' second sailing is ethical rather than epistemological. Chapter Two closely, analyzes the opening section of the Parmenides and portions of the gymnastic. This analysis shows on the one hand that Socrates' youthful understanding of the ideas bears the marks of a typical Platonism. Parmenides' challenges to Socrates provide an indication of the difficulties inherent in the notion of eidos while at the same time suggesting ways to reconcile those difficulties. Chapter Three looks at Socrates' account in the Symposium of his lessons with Diotima. Here it is shown that the revelation of the eidetic is a moment of a project of self-understanding and transformation. Chapter Four returns to the Phaedo and provides an interpretation of Socrates' hypothetical method. This interpretation argues that this method is enacted and understood in light of what Socrates learns from Parmenides and Diotima, and that the positing of ideas as explicated there is a fundamentally practical endeavor undertaken as a measure of safety against the dangers of sophistry. Chapter Four ends with some considerations of whether the eidetic can ultimately, be understood in isolation from a larger set of hypotheses. (shrink)
ABSTRACT After the tragedies of the twentieth century, the utopian impulse was subject to searching criticism by a host of liberal intellectuals including Karl Popper, Hannah Arendt, Isaiah Berlin, and Jacob Talmon. Looking to history and political philosophy, these thinkers impugned utopianism for so frequently destroying the freedoms it appeared to pursue. Defined by its theoretical contradictions, the utopian project, rooted in the politics of the Enlightenment, bore some responsibility for the totalitarianism and genocide that had shaped their lives. As (...) this critique became liberal orthodoxy, a heretic group of anarchist thinkers challenged these conclusions. While travelling some distance with the liberal critics, for Paul Goodman, Marie Louise Berneri, and Herbert Read, the twentieth century, rather than invalidating the utopian urge made its boldness and experimentalism all the more vital. Their act of heresy was defending utopianism as a central component of their anarchist critique of the present. (shrink)
Here I examine the major theories of ethical intuitions, focusing on the epistemic status of this class of intuitions. We cover self-evidence theory, seeming-state theory, and some of the recent contributions from experimental philosophy.
This article argues against a leading cognitivist and moral interpretation of shame that is present in the philosophical literature. That standard view holds that shame is the felt-response to a loss of self-esteem, which is the result of negative self-assessment. I hold that shame is a heteronomous and primitive bodily affect that is perceptual rather than judgmental in nature. Shame results from the breakdown and thwarting of our desire for anonymous, unexceptional, and disattentive co-existence with others. I use the sociological (...) theory of Erving Goffman and the theory of shame found in philosophical anthropology to support this view. I also use the cases of shame and chronic shame that often accompany disability to show that shame is separable from negative self-assessment and, instead, emerges as an affective response to a world that disallows unburdened and unreflective interpersonal equilibrium. (shrink)
Here I present and defend an etiological theory of objective, doxastic justification, and related theories of defeat and evidence. The theory is intended to solve a problem for reliabilist epistemologies— the problem of identifying relevant environments for assessing a process's reliability. It is also intended to go some way to accommodating, neutralizing, or explaining away many internalist-friendly elements in our epistemic thinking.
Despite the ongoing need for managers to fire employees and the wide prevalence of downsizing and layoffs, little research has examined how the conduct of termination interviews affects employee reactions. The current research was designed to explore reactions to several commonly used termination interview practices. Two scenario-based experiments examined the effectiveness of having a third party (an HR manager or a security guard) present, mentioning the employee's positive characteristics and contributions, and using alone, discrete escort, or public escort modes of (...) exit from the interview. Perceptions of being treated with respect and empathy, levels of anger, and the likelihood of complaining to others and taking legal action were assessed. Support for the effectiveness of specific termination interview practices was mixed. Specifically, in Experiment 1, third party presence was viewed as demonstrating a lack of respect, whereas mentioning positive characteristics was generally viewed favorably. Experiment 2 showed the favorable effects of mentioning positive characteristics were eroded by a security guard escort from the interview, and actually reversed and became negative when that escort was public in nature. A public escort also produced the highest levels of anger. These results suggest that multiple aspects of the termination interview process should be considered carefully when developing managerial policies. (shrink)
This is a review of Eklund's book. It discusses his suggestion that "ardent realists" use the practical profiles of normative concepts to A) explain what it is for a concept to be normative, B) fix reference, and C) provide an extensional theory of normative properties. I argue that those sympathetic to ardent realism will be happier to focus on the way in which normativity presents itself to cognition, particularly that presentation of inherent, authoritative guidance, and whether that 1) explains what (...) it is for a concept to be normative, 2) fixes reference, 3) aptly characterizes the nature of normativity in the world, and perhaps 4) explains why normative thoughts have the Eklund-style normative roles—the practical profiles of things like motivation, preference, and intention—that they have. (shrink)
When it comes to the meanings of normative expressions, descriptivist theories and expressivist theories have distinct explanatory virtues. Noting this, and with the hope of not compromising on explanatory resources, hybrid semantic theories refuse to choose. Here, I examine how well the strategy works for Moorean open questions and associated is‐ought gaps. Though hybrid theorists typically rely on their expressivist resources for this explanandum, there is a type of open question that unadulterated expressivist theories can handle but hybrid theories cannot (...) – reverse open questions associated with an ought‐is gap. Because of this, hybrid theories do not enjoy the best of both worlds, and Moorean considerations favour unadulterated expressivism over any partly descriptivist theory. (shrink)
Non-naturalists face a dilemma. They either leave their normative views hostage to a non-natural realm, which is immoral, or they do not, which is irrational. David Enoch has argued that the problem rests on cases of junk knowledge — conditionals that cannot be used to expand knowledge via modus ponens. Camil Golub has suggested that the dilemma rests on questionable assumptions about how we might come to know about the non-natural. Here I reply to these worries, sharpen the dilemma, and (...) situate it in the literature on doxastic wrongs. (shrink)
Climate and evolution represents an important contribution to evolutionary biogeography, that influenced several authors, notably Karl P. Schmidt, George S. Myers, George G. Simpson, Philip J. Darlington, Ernst Mayr, Thomas Barbour, John C. Poynton, Allen Keast, Léon Croizat, Robin Craw, Michael Heads, and Osvaldo A. Reig. Authors belonging to the “New York School of Zoogeography” –a research community including Matthew, Schmidt, Myers and Simpson– accepted Matthew’s “Holarcticism” and the permanence of ocean basins and continents, whereas others, especially panbiogeographers (...) and cladistic biogeographers, were extremely critical and reacted against these ideas. “Holarcticism” has been falsified and rejected by dispersalists and the “New York School of Zoogeography” disappeared in the 1970s. Matthew, however, continues being identified by panbiogeographers and cladistic biogeographers as a key representative of classic dispersalism, helping provide some cohesion to their research communities. (shrink)
Non-descriptivists in metaethics should say more about intuitions. For one popular theory has it that case-based intuitions are in the business of correctly categorizing or classifying merely by bringing to bear a semantic or conceptual competence. If so, then the fact that all normative predicates have case-based intuitions involving them shows that they too are in the business of categorizing or classifying things. This favors a descriptivist position in metaethics—normative predicates have descriptive content—and disfavors a purely non-descriptivist position, like pure (...) expressivism. However, we can say more. We can distinguish two different sorts of intuitional state, A-grade intuitions and B-grade intuitions, based on a cluster of properties that are distinctive of each. While a hypothesis about categorization best explains the cluster of properties enjoyed by A-grade intuitions, it does not best explain the cluster of properties enjoyed by B-grade intuitions. Indeed, a non-categorizational, attitude-expressive hypothesis about the relevant meanings best explains B-grade intuitions. And intuitions involving thin normative predicates are B-grade. So intuition theory supports non-descriptivism, not descriptivism, about thin normative predicates. (shrink)
A series of papers in Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine (PEHM) have recently disputed whether non-heart beating organ donors are alive and whether non-heart beating organ donation (NHBD) contravenes the dead donor rule. Several authors who argue that NHBD involves harvesting organs from live patients appeal to.