Philosophy is often divided into two traditions: analytic and continental philosophy. Characterizing the analytic-continental divide, however, is no easy task. Some philosophers explain the divide in terms of the place of argument in these traditions. This raises the following questions: Is analytic philosophy rife with arguments while continental philosophy is devoid of arguments? Or can different types of arguments be found in analytic and continental philosophy? This paper presents the results of an empirical study of a large corpus of philosophical (...) texts mined from the JSTOR database (n = 53,260) designed to find patterns of argumentation by type. Overall, the results suggest that there are no significant differences between the types of arguments advanced in analytic and continental philosophy journal articles. The findings, therefore, provide no empirical support to the hypothesis that the divide between analytic and continental philosophy has to do with the place of argument in these traditions. (shrink)
‘Marital faithfulness’ refers to faithful love for a spouse or lover to whom one is committed, rather than the narrower idea of sexual fidelity. The distinction is clearly marked in traditional wedding vows. A commitment to love faithfully is central: ‘to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part… and thereto I plight [pledge] thee my troth [faithfulness]’. (...) Sexual fidelity is promised in a subordinate clause, symbolizing its supportive role in promoting love's constancy: ‘and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her/him.’. (shrink)
_The Collected Works of G. Lowes Dickinson_ reissues nine titles from Dickinson's impressive oeuvre. The titles in question cover a range of topics, from Plato and the Greek view of life to civilisation and the causes of war.
Are people rational? This question was central to Greek thought and has been at the heart of psychology and philosophy for millennia. This book provides a radical and controversial reappraisal of conventional wisdom in the psychology of reasoning, proposing that the Western conception of the mind as a logical system is flawed at the very outset. It argues that cognition should be understood in terms of probability theory, the calculus of uncertain reasoning, rather than in terms of logic, the calculus (...) of certain reasoning. (shrink)
Disagreement holds the key: the possibility of agreeing or disagreeing with a state of mind makes that state of mind act logically like accepting a claim. Charles Stevenson was quite right to begin his presentation of emotivism with disagreement.—Allan Gibbard.
Philosophers and psychologists make many different, seemingly incompatible parsimony claims in support of competing models of cognition in nonhuman animals. This variety of parsimony claims is problematic. Firstly, it is difficult to justify each specific variety. This problem is especially salient for Morgan's Canon, perhaps the most important variety of parsimony claimed. Secondly, there is no systematic way of adjudicating between particular claims when they conflict. I argue for a view of parsimony in comparative psychology that solves these problems, based (...) on Sober's view that parsimony claims are claims that one model is more plausible given background theory. (shrink)
According to Aristotle, humans are the rational animal. The borderline between rationality and irrationality is fundamental to many aspects of human life including the law, mental health, and language interpretation. But what is it to be rational? One answer, deeply embedded in the Western intellectual tradition since ancient Greece, is that rationality concerns reasoning according to the rules of logic – the formal theory that specifies the inferential connections that hold with certainty between propositions. Piaget viewed logical reasoning as defining (...) the end-point of cognitive development; and contemporary psychology of reasoning has focussed on comparing human reasoning against logical standards. (shrink)
By any reasonable reckoning, Gottlob Frege's ‘On Sense and Reference’ is one of the more important philosophical papers of all time. Although Frege briefly discusses the sense-reference distinction in an earlier work, it is through ‘Sense and Reference’ that most philosophers have become familiar with it. And the distinction so thoroughly permeates contemporary philosophy of language and mind that it is almost impossible to imagine these subjects without it.The distinction between the sense and the referent of a name is introduced (...) in the second paragraph of ‘Sense and Reference.’. (shrink)
The “Cosmological Constant Problem” is widely considered a crisis in contemporary theoretical physics. Unfortunately, the search for its resolution is hampered by open disagreement about what is, strictly, the problem. This disagreement stems from the observation that the CCP is not a problem within any of our current theories, and nearly all of the details of those future theories for which the CCP could be made a problem are up for grabs. Given this state of affairs, I discuss how one (...) ought to make sense of the role of the CCP in physics and generalize some lessons from it. (shrink)
Assuming divine command theory is true, there are no moral limits on the commands God can issue. Nevertheless there are no possible worlds in which divine command theory is true and God commands cruelty for its own sake or the sacrifice of ten-year-olds in a gruesome ritual, or anything of the kind. The main conclusion of the argument is that God cannot command the morally horrible not because of God's moral perfection or God's lack of power, of God's kindness, etc., (...) but because commanding the morally horrible entails a contradiction. I show that the argument is an instance of a valid and uncontroversial counterfactual sequent. Divine command theory entails that there are commands that even an omnipotent and morally unconstrained being cannot issue. (shrink)
Google Trends reveals that at the time we were writing our article on ‘The Coming Crisis of Empirical Sociology’ in 2007 almost nobody was searching the internet for ‘Big Data’. It was only towards the very end of 2010 that the term began to register, just ahead of an explosion of interest from 2011 onwards. In this commentary we take the opportunity to reflect back on the claims we made in that original paper in light of more recent discussions about (...) the social scientific implications of the inundation of digital data. Did our paper, with its emphasis on the emergence of, what we termed, ‘social transactional data’ and ‘digital byproduct data’ prefigure contemporary debates that now form the basis and rationale for this excellent new journal? Or was the paper more concerned with broader methodological, theoretical and political debates that have somehow been lost in all of the loud babble that has come to surround Big Data. Using recent work on the BBC Great British Class Survey as an example this brief paper offers a reflexive and critical reflection on what has become – much to the surprise of its authors – one of the most cited papers in the discipline of sociology in the last decade. (shrink)
Words Fail offers a numbers of formulations concerning representation which are never developed into a sustained argument. The book also fails to account reliably for the thought of the three thinkers the author proposes to address. In particular, despite claiming to draw on the work of Jacques Derrida, Dickinson speaks quite remarkably of “true presence” and “pure presentation.”.
Four experiments investigated the effects of probability manipulations on the indicative four card selection task (Wason, 1966, 1968). All looked at the effects of high and low probability antecedents (p) and consequents (q) on participants' data selections when determining the truth or falsity of a conditional rule, if p then q . Experiments 1 and 2 also manipulated believability. In Experiment 1, 128 participants performed the task using rules with varied contents pretested for probability of occurrence. Probabilistic effects were observed (...) which were partly consistent with some probabilistic accounts but not with non-probabilistic approaches to selection task performance. No effects of believability were observed, a finding replicated in Experiment 2 which used 80 participants with standardised and familiar contents. Some effects in this experiment appeared inconsistent with existing probabilistic approaches. To avoid possible effects of content, Experiments 3 (48 participants) and 4 (20 participants) used abstract material. Both experiments revealed probabilistic effects. In the Discussion we examine the compatibility of these results with the various models of selection task performance. (shrink)
The dead donor rule justifies current practice in organ procurement for transplantation and states that organ donors must be dead prior to donation. The majority of organ donors are diagnosed as having suffered brain death and hence are declared dead by neurological criteria. However, a significant amount of unrest in both the philosophical and the medical literature has surfaced since this practice began forty years ago. I argue that, first, declaring death by neurological criteria is both unreliable and unjustified but (...) further, the ethical principles which themselves justify the dead donor rule are better served by abandoning that rule and instead allowing individuals who have suffered severe and irreversible brain damage to become organ donors, even though they are not yet dead and even though the removal of their organs would be the proximal cause of death. (shrink)
A recent development in the cognitive science of reasoning has been the emergence of a probabilistic approach to the behaviour observed on ostensibly logical tasks. According to this approach the errors and biases documented on these tasks occur because people import their everyday uncertain reasoning strategies into the laboratory. Consequently participants' apparently irrational behaviour is the result of comparing it with an inappropriate logical standard. In this article, we contrast the probabilistic approach with other approaches to explaining rationality, and then (...) show how it has been applied to three main areas of logical reasoning: conditional inference, Wason's selection task and syllogistic reasoning. (shrink)
Part of understanding the meaning and power of algorithms means asking what new demands they might make of ethical frameworks, and how they might be held accountable to ethical standards. I develop a definition of networked information algorithms as assemblages of institutionally situated code, practices, and norms with the power to create, sustain, and signify relationships among people and data through minimally observable, semiautonomous action. Starting from Merrill’s prompt to see ethics as the study of “what we ought to do,” (...) I examine ethical dimensions of contemporary NIAs. Specifically, in an effort to sketch an empirically grounded, pragmatic ethics of algorithms, I trace an algorithmic assemblage’s power to convene constituents, suggest actions based on perceived similarity and probability, and govern the timing and timeframes of ethical action. (shrink)
How can a critical analysis of entrepreneurial intention inform an appreciation of ethics in social enterprise business models? In answering this question, we consider the ethical commitments that inform entrepreneurial action and the hybrid organisations that emerge out of these commitments and actions. Ethical theory can be a useful way to reorient the field of social enterprise so that it is more critical of bureaucratic and market-driven enterprises connected to neoliberal doctrine. Social enterprise hybrid business models are therefore reframed as (...) outcomes of both ethical and entrepreneurial intentions. We challenge the dominant conceptualisation of social enterprise as a hybrid blend of mission and market by reframing hybridity in terms of the moral choice of economic system and social value orientation. We deconstruct the political foundations of charitable trading activities, co-operative and mutual enterprises and socially responsible businesses by examining the rationalities and ethical commitments that underpin them. Whilst conceptual modelling of social enterprise is not new, this paper contributes to knowledge by developing a theory of social enterprise ethics based on the moral/political choices that are made by entrepreneurs when choosing between systems of economic exchange and social value orientation, then expressing it through a legal form. (shrink)
Philosophers and psychologists have long worried that the human tendency to anthropomorphize leads us to err in our understanding of nonhuman minds. This tendency, which I call intuitive anthropomorphism, is a heuristic used by our unconscious folk psychology to understand nonhuman animals. The dominant understanding of intuitive anthropomorphism underestimates its complexity. If we want to understand and control intuitive anthropomorphism, we must treat it as a cognitive bias and look to the empirical evidence. This evidence suggests that the most common (...) control for intuitive anthropomorphism, Morgan’s Canon, should be rejected, while others are incomplete. It also suggests new approaches. (shrink)
Sports have long played an important role in society. By exploring the evolving link between sporting behaviour and the prevailing ethics of the time this comprehensive and wide-ranging study illuminates our understanding of the wider social significance of sport. The primary aim of _Sports, Virtues and Vices_ is to situate ethics at the heart of sports via ‘virtue ethical’ considerations that can be traced back to the gymnasia of ancient Greece. The central theme running through the book is that sports (...) are effectively modern morality plays: universal practices of moral education for the masses and - when coached, officiated and played properly - a valuable vehicle for ethical development. Including a wealth of contemporary sporting examples, the book explores key ethical issues such as: How the pursuit of sporting excellence can lead to harm Doping, greed and shame Biomedical technology as a challenge to the virtue of elite athletes Defining a ‘virtue ethical account’ in sport Family vices and virtues in sport Written by one of the world's foremost sports philosophers, this book powerfully unites the fields of sports ethics and medical ethics. It is essential reading for all students and scholars with an interest in the ethics and philosophy of sport. (shrink)
Setting aside some complexities, Koplin and Wilkinson1 argue: 1. Moral status is uncertain if there is a non-zero chance that an entity has, or would develop, full moral status. 2. If its moral status is uncertain, then moral caution is warranted towards that entity. 3. The moral status of both non-chimeric pigs and human-pig chimaeras is uncertain. Therefore, consistency demands that moral caution is warranted towards both non-chimeric pigs and human-pig chimaeras. 4. The commonly held view is that moral caution (...) is warranted towards human-pig chimaeras, but not non-chimeric pigs. Therefore, the commonly held view is inconsistent. This is a valid argument. The authors claim that the inconsistency they expose in conclusion 2 could be resolved in favour of either commonly held view, or by revising both to equivalency. However, it is clear from conclusion 1, and the paper more generally, that the authors are arguing for moral caution to be applied to the treatment of pigs of both types. I will focus on evaluating premises 1 and 2, and the generalisability of the argument in light of this. In doing so, I will attempt to show that the argument has implausible logical implications, and that the moral caution warranted towards human-pig chimaeras of uncertain moral status does not require confidence that they lack full moral status, as the authors claim. According to premise 1, if an entity might currently have moral …. (shrink)
Combining reception theorists’s emphasis upon the function of readers for meaning production with Bakhtin’s model of exotopic intercultural relation, this essay argues that for Chinese readers, Dickinson works as part of a long meditative tradition. The discussion positions the air and wind in the center of her image cluster, examining the formation of her poetics of emptiness that is marked by a negative tendency. In this vein, Dickinson’s “lonesome Glee,” which is often associated with deprivation, pain and lack, (...) is read as a manifestation of wandering at ease, a spiritual ideal that resonates with Daoism and Chan Buddhism. Her effort to reconfigure heaven, as evidenced in a subset of poems including “Peace is a fiction of our Faith -”, illuminates how she uses apophatic strategies to negotiate the Christian dogmas, gradually achieving a knowledge and articulation that intriguingly echo Chinese philosophies. (shrink)
This paper explores the distinctive features of the critical agenda associated with the ‘Social Life of Methods’. I argue that although this perspective can be associated with the increasing interest, often associated with scholars in Science and Technology Studies, to reflect on how methods can become objects of inquiry, it also needs to be rooted in the current crisis of positivist methods. I identify the challenge for positivism in terms of the decreasing ability of its procedures to effectively organize increasingly (...) ‘lively’ sources of standardized data, which can now be assembled using aesthetic registers. In developing this argument, I dispute the idea that this development is due to historical shifts linked to the way that methodological devices are playing an increasingly significant role in contemporary social life, which might be argued by writers such as Thrift or Castells. I also argue that by opening up issues of method to the aesthetic, we also recast the relationship between theory and method, pointing to the exhaustion of a certain kind of cultural theory within the social sciences. I contextualize these issues by considering how methods are implicated in the intellectual differentiation between scientific and humanities expertise. Rather than conceiving the ‘Social Life of Methods’ in terms of the rise of instrumentalist modes of governance, it is preferable to place it within the dialectic of transparency and the relationship between the implicit and explicit. These issues are addressed through introducing the papers in the special issue. (shrink)
Animal welfare science and ecology are both generally concerned with the lives of animals, however they differ in their objectives and scope; the former studies the welfare of animals considered ‘domestic’ and under the domain of humans, while the latter studies wild animals with respect to ecological processes. Each of these approaches addresses certain aspects of the lives of animals living in the world though neither, we argue, tells us important information about the welfare of wild animals. This paper argues (...) for the development of a new scientific discipline ‘welfare biology’ to address these issues and more, given the deficiencies of pre-existing life science disciplines to research the subject. Welfare biology is the study of the welfare of all living beings who have a welfare, with a value orientation toward promoting that welfare, regardless of the beings’ situation or relationship to humans and our activities. (shrink)
Philosophical discussions of Molyneux's problem within contemporary philosophy of mind tend to characterize the problem as primarily concerned with the role innately known principles, amodal spatial concepts, and rational cognitive faculties play in our perceptual lives. Indeed, for broadly similar reasons, rationalists have generally advocated an affirmative answer, while empiricists have generally advocated a negative one, to the question Molyneux posed after presenting his famous thought experiment. This historical characterization of the dialectic, however, somewhat obscures the role Molyneux's problem has (...) played in spawning debates within the empiricist tradition. Fortunately, the differences between various empiricist accounts have been widely recognized and discussed among historians of philosophy working on the topic. The focus of the present essay is to develop an interpretation of John Locke's views on Molyneux's problem that best coheres with his other views on human understanding as well as with the predominant scientific opinion about the nature of perception during the period in which he lived. (shrink)
Perhaps the greatest impediment to a viable libertarianism is the provision of a satisfactory explanation of how actions that are undetermined by an agent's character can still be under the control of, or 'up to', the agent. The 'luck problem' has been most assiduously examined by Robert Kane who supplies a detailed account of how this problem can be resolved. Although Kane's theory is innovative, insightful, and more resourceful than most of his critics believe, it ultimately cannot account for the (...) type of control that moral responsibility and agency legitimately require. (shrink)
Currie (2019) has introduced a novel account of creativity within the social epistemology of science. The account is intended to capture how conservatism can be detrimental to the health of inquiry within certain scientific communities, given the aims of research there. I argue that recent remarks by Rovelli (2018) put pressure on the applicability of the account. Altogether, it seems we do not yet well understand the relationship between creativity, conservatism, and the health of inquiry in science.
Over the last decade, fully distributed models have become dominant in connectionist psychological modelling, whereas the virtues of localist models have been underestimated. This target article illustrates some of the benefits of localist modelling. Localist models are characterized by the presence of localist representations rather than the absence of distributed representations. A generalized localist model is proposed that exhibits many of the properties of fully distributed models. It can be applied to a number of problems that are difficult for fully (...) distributed models, and its applicability can be extended through comparisons with a number of classic mathematical models of behaviour. There are reasons why localist models have been underused, though these often misconstrue the localist position. In particular, many conclusions about connectionist representation, based on neuroscientific observation, can be called into question. There are still some problems inherent in the application of fully distributed systems and some inadequacies in proposed solutions to these problems. In the domain of psychological modelling, localist modelling is to be preferred. Key Words: choice; competition; connectionist modelling; consolidation; distributed; localist; neural networks; reaction-time. (shrink)
The Other Adam Smith represents the next wave of critical thinking about the still under-examined work of this paradigmatic Enlightenment thinker. Not simply another book about Adam Smith, it allows and even necessitates his inclusion in the realm of theory in the broadest sense. Moving beyond his usual economic and moral philosophical texts, Mike Hill and Warren Montag take seriously Smith's entire corpus, his writing on knowledge, affect, sociability and government, and political economy, as constituting a comprehensive—though highly contestable—system (...) of thought. We meet not just Smith the economist, but Smith the philosopher, Smith the literary critic, Smith the historian, and Smith the anthropologist. Placed in relation to key thinkers such as Hume, Lord Kames, Fielding, Hayek, Von Mises, and Agamben, this other Adam Smith, far from being localized in the history of eighteenth-century economic thought or ideas, stands at the center of the most vibrant and contentious debates of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. (shrink)
The ‘messianic’ is one of philosophy’s most appropriated religious terms, yet one apparently now bereft of its historical religious particularity. This essay thus explores a genealogical approach to the ‘messianic’ which might prove helpful in uncovering the reasons for this transformation from the theological to the philosophical, and what role, if any, theology still has in determining the meaning and usage of this term. Accordingly, this essay traces the term through the work of Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida and Giorgio Agamben. (...) This development is made against the backdrop of another religious term which indirectly pervades the work of all three authors: the canon. The canonical is a term which lingers on the margins of these messianic discourses and needs to be explored further in the context of this work in order to provide a fitting foil to these otherwise ‘purely philosophical’ developments of the messianic. The necessity for invoking the canonical form will become clear as this analysis is extended to the work of Agamben in order to determine how canons remain an unstated factor in his attempt to eradicate all representation from a just ethical paradigm. In this attempt to articulate a model of understanding that goes beyond the universal/particular divide, he will in fact advance a movement from particularity to particularity which can be profoundly read as a genuine paradigm for articulating a theological principle of creation. Thus, this essay intends to point toward two related conclusions: first, that the triad of canon-creation-representation might be understood as a necessity for cultural intelligibility, yet one that must also be seen in relation to its messianic-redemptive-unrepresented elements; and, second, that even this epistemological framework can be undone through a bid to end all representations which nonetheless allows us to return to a more profound realization of creation. (shrink)
Auguste Comte is widely acknowledged as the founder of the science of sociology and the 'Religion of Humanity'. In this fascinating study, the first major reassessment of Comte’s sociology for many years, Mike Gane draws on recent scholarship and presents a new reading of this remarkable figure. Comte’s contributions to the history and philosophy of science have decisively influenced positive methodologies. He coined the term ‘sociology’ and gave it its first content, and he is renowned for having introduced the (...) sociology of gender and emotion into sociology. What is less well known however, is that Comte contributed to ethics, and indeed coined the word ‘altruism’. In this important work Gane examines Comte's sociological vision and shows that, because he thought sociology could and should be reflexive, encyclopaedic and utopian, he considered topics such as fetishism, polytheism, fate, love, and the relations between sociology, science, theology and culture. This fascinating account of the birth of sociology is an unprecedented introductory text on Comte. Gane’s work is an essential read for all sociologists and students of the discipline. (shrink)