Reliabilism holds that knowledge is true belief reliably caused. Reliabilists should say something about individuating processes; critics deny that the right degree of generality can be specified without arbitrariness. It is argued that this criticism applies as well to processes mentioned in scientific explanations. The gratuitous puzzles created thereby show that the “generality problem” is illusory.
Birch, Ginsburg, and Jablonka lay out a very convincing case for an important transition marker: unlimited associative learning. Especially welcome are the empirical predictions. I focus here not on the question of how to infer phenomenal consciousness from this behavioral metric, but on possible novel applications of this useful and fundamental framework. Specifically, I highlight two aspects of biology that are often not considered in philosophy of mind approaches that focus on natural species and evolutionary time scales. These are the (...) ability of minds and bodies to change drastically on the time scale of an individual experiencing subject, and bioengineering of novel living forms with no evolutionary history at the organism level. Both of these aspects provide interesting new contexts within which to explore UAL and its implications. (shrink)
Examples cited by Feldman, Lehrer and others of true beliefs that are justified, but not by false lemmas, turn out under scrutiny to involve false lemmas after all. In each case there is an EG inference whose conclusion is unwarranted unless its base instance is false. A shift to non-deductive justification does not avert the difficulty. The relation of this result to non-inferential Gettier cases is suggested.
I argue against the currently popular view that a radical change in theory affects the meaning of theoretical terms, and hence render pre- and post-shift theories incomparable. I first show how to pose the meaning-change issue without appeal to meanings reified. I contend that arguments against theory-neutral observation languages are faulty, but that even if they were sound, there are semantic devices that allow a theory to refer to the factual basis of a competitor. This suggests a picture of science (...) as the accumulation of truths, with each successive stage being more stable. (shrink)
This paper defends the view that homosexuality is abnormal and hence undesirable—not because it is immoral or sinful, or because it weakens society or hampers evolutionary development, but for a purely mechanical reason. It is a misuse of bodily parts. Clear empirical sense attaches to the idea of the use of such bodily parts as genitals, the idea that they are for something, and consequently to the idea of their misuse. I argue on grounds involving natural selection that misuse of (...) bodily parts can with high probability be connected to unhappiness. I regard these matters as prolegomena to such policy issues as the rights of homosexuals, the rights of those desiring not to associate with homosexuals, and legislation concerning homosexuality, issues which I shall not discuss systematically here. However, I do in the last section draw a seemingly evident corollary from my view that homosexuality is abnormal and likely to lead to unhappiness. (shrink)
Meaning has traditionally been regarded as a problem for philosophers and psychologists. Advances in cognitive science since the early 1960s, however, broadened discussions of meaning, or more technically, the semantics of perceptions, representations, and/or actions, into biology and computer science. Here, we review the notion of “meaning” as it applies to living systems, and argue that the question of how living systems create meaning unifies the biological and cognitive sciences across both organizational and temporal scales.
One version of virtue epistemology defines knowledge as belief whose truth arises from, or is explained by, the motives that produced it. This version is also intended to solve the Gettier problem, by shielding properly caused beliefs from double accidents. Unfortunately, there is no notion of "explains" or "arises from" which explains in the intended sense the truth of true beliefs.
I argue that 'c' occurs extensionally in 'c caused e' and 'D' occurs extensionally in 'c caused e because c is D'. I claim that this has been insufficiently appreciated because the two contexts are often run together and because it has not been clear that the description D of c is among the referents of an explanatory argument. I argue as well that Hume's analysis of causation is consistent with taking causation to be a relation between single events, and (...) that even if events are eliminated as virtual entities, extensionality holds for all terms in the resulting context. (shrink)
Feminism was born in controversy and it continues to flourish in controversy. The distinguished contributors to this volume provide an array of perspectives on issues including: universal values, justice and care, a feminist philosophy of science, and the relationship of biology to social theory.
It is argued against critics that the concept of race is well-formed. The issue is formulated in terms of the classic sense/reference distinction and shown that "race" has a sense specified in terms of geographic ancestry, and thereby a reference. Excessive constraints on "race," for instance that races must by definition have signature genes, are rejected. Empirical validation is considered, although the emphasis here is to place empirical validation in a philosophical context, not answer the empirical questions themselves. At several (...) junctures the familiar divisions of the races are compared to the stellar luminosity types of astronomy, which are still serviceable although representing an earlier state of astrophysical knowledge. (shrink)
Philosophers have articulated six notions of human freedom. Four are metaphysical. According to one, a man acts freely when he is doing what he wants to ; according to the second, he acts freely when he is not being compelled by outside forces ; according to the third, he acts freely when the prior state of the universe was not a sufficient cause of what he is doing; according to the fourth, he acts freely when he, not any preceding event, (...) is the cause of what he is doing. The third and fourth theories may be called “indeterministic freedom” and “the agency theory,” named only to be rejected. I reject indeterminism out of agreement with a long tradition which holds that there is no reason to think that human actions are ever undetermined, and an undetermined human action would not be “free” in any sense in which we desire our actions to be free and believe that they are in fact free. To appreciate, reflect that agents should control and be accountable for “free” actions. Now, we control an event by assembling or obstructing its sufficient conditions; merefore, an event without sufficient conditions, a random event which just happens, would lie beyond human control and, hence, the sphere of human freedom. Similarly, a man is no more responsible for what happens independently of his choices – and an event without sufficient conditions cannot have a choice as a sufficient condition – than he is responsible for the behavior of a roulette wheel. (shrink)
This article considers some recent objections to reliabilism, particularly those of Susan Haack in Evidence and Inquiry. Haack complains that reliabilism solves the "ratification" problem trivially, making it analytic that evidence relates to truth; this paper defends an analytic solution to this problem. It argues as well that reliabilism is not tacitly committed to "evidentialism." Familiar counterexamples to and repairs of reliabilism are reviewed, with an eye to finding their rationale. Finally, it suggests that the underlying dispute between reliabilism and (...) its critics is the existence of a priori relations between evidence and hypotheses. (shrink)
Putnam argues that, by ‘reinterpretation’, the Axiom of Constructibility can be saved from empirical refutation. This paper contends that this argument fails, a failure which leaves Putnam's sweeping appeal to the Lowenheim –Skolem Theorem inadequately motivated.
I argue that kripke's reviews about scientific reduction and identity merely restate familiar empiricist theses in somewhat paradoxical language. I reconstruct a kripkean argument for natural necessity and conclude that it too restates empiricist orthodoxy in paradoxical language. I suggest that this difficulty is endemic to modern essentialism.
John Stuart Mill's best-known work is On Liberty. In it he declared that Western society was in danger of coming to a standstill. This was an extraordinarily pessimistic claim in view of Britain's global dominance at the time and one that has been insufficiently investigated in the secondary literature. The wanting model was that of China, a once advanced civilization that had apparently ossified. To understand how Mill came to this conclusion requires one to investigate his notion of the stages (...) from barbarism to civilization, and also his belief in imperialism as part of the civilizing process. Here India plays a central role, as both Mill and his father worked for the East India Company. This study, then, investigates the relationship between Mill's liberalism and his justification of imperialism. It takes us into the Utilitarianism of his family background, and such other influences as Romanticism, Scottish political economy and such key French thinkers as Saint- Simon, Guizot, Comte and Tocqueville. Mill, then, provides the focus of a debate on the origins, meaning, and consequences of Western civilization. It encompasses discourses on colonialism and orientalism, on Enlightenment optimism and conservative despair, on the need for leadership and the advance of democracy; in short, on the blessings, curses and dangers of modernization from approximately the time of the American and French revolutions to that of the so-called mid-Victorian calm in which On Liberty was written. Furthermore, current political issues concerning the West and Islamic countries have heightened interest in just the kind of question that this book discusses: that of how the West relates to, and assesses, the rest of the world. (shrink)