Many publicly-funded health systems apply cost-benefit frameworks in response to the moral dilemma of how best to allocate scarce healthcare resources. However, implementation of recommendations based on costs and benefit calculations and subsequent challenges have led to ‘special cases’ with certain types of health benefits considered more valuable than others. Recent debate and research has focused on the relative value of life extensions for people with terminal illnesses. This research investigates societal perspectives in relation to this issue, in the UK.
Neil E. Williams develops a systematic metaphysics centred on the idea of powers, as a rival to neo-Humeanism, the dominant systematic metaphysics in philosophy today. Williams takes powers to be inherently causal properties and uses them as the foundation of his explanations of causation, persistence, laws, and modality.
Neuroscience has dramatically increased understanding of how mental states and processes are realized by the brain, thus opening doors for treating the multitude of ways in which minds become dysfunctional. This book explores questions such as when is it permissible to alter a person's memories, influence personality traits or read minds? What can neuroscience tell us about free will, self-control, self-deception and the foundations of morality? The view of neuroethics offered here argues that many of our new powers to read (...) ,alter and control minds are not entirely unparalleled with older ones. They have, however, expanded to include almost all our social, political and ethical decisions. Written primarily for graduate students, this book will appeal to anyone with an interest in the more philosophical and ethical aspects of the neurosciences. (shrink)
Neil Tennant presents an original logical system with unusual philosophical, proof-theoretic, metalogical, computational, and revision-theoretic virtues. Core Logic is the first system that ensures both relevance and adequacy for the formalization of all mathematical and scientific reasoning.
Kant writes: If … the only aim of Nature regarding some creature possessed of reason and a will were its preservation, its well-being, in a word its happiness, then she would have come to a very bad arrangement in choosing its reason as executor of that aim. For all actions that it had to execute in this her intention, and the whole regulation of its behaviour would have been able to be prescribed to it much more precisely by instinct, and (...) that aim thereby much more certainly maintained, than ever could happen through reason …. (shrink)
This book defends the Humean Theory of Motivation, according to which desire drives all action and practical reasoning. -/- Desire motivates us to pursue its object. It makes thoughts of its object pleasant. It focuses attention on its object. Its effects are amplified by vivid representations of its object. These aspects of desire explain why motivation usually accompanies moral belief, how intentions shape our plans, how we exercise willpower, what human selves are, how action can express emotion, why we procrastinate, (...) and how we daydream. The Humean Theory also suggests a new account of moral judgment that upholds objectivity while understanding moral concepts in terms of our feelings. (shrink)
In the contemporary philosophy of set theory, discussion of new axioms that purport to resolve independence necessitates an explanation of how they come to be justified. Ordinarily, justification is divided into two broad kinds: intrinsic justification relates to how `intuitively plausible' an axiom is, whereas extrinsic justification supports an axiom by identifying certain `desirable' consequences. This paper puts pressure on how this distinction is formulated and construed. In particular, we argue that the distinction as often presented is neither well-demarcated nor (...) sufficiently precise. Instead, we suggest that the process of justification in set theory should not be thought of as neatly divisible in this way, but should rather be understood as a conceptually indivisible notion linked to the goal of explanation. (shrink)
Noam Chomsky is one of the leading intellectual figures of modern times. He has had a major influence on linguistics, psychology and philosophy, and a significant effect on many other disciplines, from anthropology to mathematics, education to literary criticism. In this rigorous yet accessible account of Chomsky's work and influence, Neil Smith analyses Chomsky's key contributions to the study of language and the study of mind. He gives a detailed exposition of Chomsky's linguistic theorizing, discusses the psychological and philosophical (...) implications of Chomsky's work, and argues that he has fundamentally changed the way we think of ourselves, gaining a position in the history of ideas on a par with that of Darwin or Descartes. This second edition has been thoroughly updated to account for Chomsky's most recent work, including his continued contributions to linguistics, his further discussion on evolution, and his extensive work on the events of September 11th, 2001. (shrink)
What is morality? In Practical Expressivism, I argue that morality is a purely natural interpersonal co-ordination device, whereby human beings express their attitudes in order to influence the attitudes and actions of others. -/- The ultimate goal of these expressions is to find acceptable ways of living together. This 'expressivist' model for understanding morality faces well-known challenges concerning 'saving the appearances' of morality, because morality presents itself to us as a practice of objective discovery, not pure expression. -/- This book (...) demonstrates how a properly developed expressivist view can overcome this objection, by showing that even if moral practice is fundamentally expressive, it can still come to possess those features that make it appear objective (features such as talk and thought of moral disagreement, truth and belief, and the applicability of logical notions to moral sentences). The key to this development is to emphasise the unique and intricate practical role that morality plays in our lives. Practical expressivism is also practical in the further sense that it provides repeatable patterns that expressivists can deploy in coming to understand the apparently objective features of morality. (shrink)
Propositionalism is the view that the contents of intentional attitudes have a propositional structure. Objectualism opposes propositionalism in allowing the contents of these attitudes to be ordinary objects or properties. Philosophers including Talbot Brewer, Paul Thagard, Michelle Montague, and Alex Grzankowski attack propositionalism about such attitudes as desire, liking, and fearing. This article defends propositionalism, mainly on grounds that it better supports psychological explanations.
The following is a transcript of the interview I (Yasuko Kitano) conducted with Neil Levy (The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, CAPPE) on the 23rd in July 2009, while he was in Tokyo to give a series of lectures on neuroethics at The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy. I edited his words for publication with his approval.
What should I do? What should I think? Traditionally, ethicists tackle the first question, while epistemologists tackle the second. Philosophers have tended to investigate the issue of what to do independently of the issue of what to think, that is, to do ethics independently of epistemology, and vice versa. This collection of new essays by leading philosophers focuses on a central concern of both epistemology and ethics: normativity. Normativity is a matter of what one should or may do or think, (...) what one has reason or justification to do or to think, what it is right or wrong to do or to think, and so on. The volume is innovative in drawing together issues from epistemology and ethics and in exploring neglected connections between epistemic and practical normativity. It represents a burgeoning research programme in which epistemic and practical normativity are seen as two aspects of a single topic, deeply interdependent and raising parallel questions. (shrink)
In “The Evolutionary Debunking of Quasi-Realism,” Neil Sinclair and James Chamberlain present a novel answer that quasi-realists can pro-vide to a version of the reliability challenge in ethics—which asks for an explanation of why our moral beliefs are generally true—and in so doing, they examine whether evolutionary arguments can debunk quasi-realism. Although reliability challenges differ from EDAs in several respects, there may well be a connection between them. For the explanatory premise of an EDA may state that a particular (...) theory of beliefs of a certain kind does not, or cannot, provide a plausible account of why those beliefs might be generally true, and its epistemic premise may state that, if that is the case, then the beliefs in question have a negative epistemic status or the theory is false inasmuch as, if it were true, it would lead to those beliefs having such a negative epistemic status. The quasi-realist can answer the reli-ability challenge by claiming that, when we form our moral beliefs through a process of well-informed impartial reflection, we form them in response to the non-moral features of things on which depend the moral features they have. Hence, when we form beliefs by means of such a process, we are most likely forming true moral beliefs. (shrink)
Is the tick a machine or a machine operator? Is it a mere object or a subject? With these questions, the pioneering biophilosopher Jakob von Uexküll embarks on a remarkable exploration of the unique social and physical environments that individual animal species, as well as individuals within species, build and inhabit. This concept of the umwelt has become enormously important within posthumanist philosophy, influencing such figures as Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Deleuze and Guattari, and, most recently, Giorgio Agamben, who has called Uexküll (...) "a high point of modern antihumanism." A key document in the genealogy of posthumanist thought, _A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans_ advances Uexküll's revolutionary belief that nonhuman perceptions must be accounted for in any biology worth its name; it also contains his arguments against natural selection as an adequate explanation for the present orientation of a species' morphology and behavior. _A Theory of Meaning_ extends his thinking on the _umwelt_, while also identifying an overarching and perceptible unity in nature. Those coming to Uexküll's work for the first time will find that his concept of the _umwelt_ holds out new possibilities for the terms of animality, life, and the whole framework of biopolitics itself. (shrink)
This essay presents two arguments for ethical hedonism, each defending it on naturalistic grounds. This abstract lists the three premises of each argument. First is the Reliability Argument. [R1] The reliability of a process is the probability that beliefs it generates are true. [R2] Phenomenal introspection is reliable in generating belief that pleasure is good. [R3] No other processes are independently reliable in generating moral belief. ∴ [%PIG] Pleasure is probably the only good thing. Second is the Universality Argument. [U1] (...) x is good ↔ x should please all metaphysically possible moral perceivers [U2] x should please Y ↔ x makes pleasure accurate for Y. [U3] x makes pleasure accurate for all metaphysically possible moral perceivers ↔ x is pleasure∴ [PIG]: Pleasure is goodness. (shrink)
What makes an argument in a law case good or bad? This book examines this and other questions central to the study of jurisprudence. Care has been taken to make the legal elements of the book readily accessible to non-lawyers, and the philosophical elements to non-philosophers.
In this paper we sketch a new version of aesthetic expressivism. One advantage of this view is that it explains various putative norms on the formation and revision of aesthetic judgement. We argue that our sketch goes beyond extant versions of aesthetic expressivism (such as those discussed by Gibbard, Hopkins, Scruton, and Todd) by explaining these norms in terms of an account of the distinctive function, not just of individual aesthetic judgements or assertions, but of the wider aesthetic practice of (...) which they are a part. It is by reference to this wider yet domain-specific expressive function, we argue, that the particular norms applicable to aesthetic judgement-formation can be explained, in a way that does not overgeneralise. In short, different expressive functions can explain different norms of judgement formation; not all expressive discourses are equal. (shrink)
This is an introductory guidebook to the basic principles of how to construct good arguments and how to criticeze bad ones. It is non-technical in its approach and is based on 150 key examples, each discussed and evaluated in clear, illustrative detail. Professor Walton, a leading authority in the field of informal logic, explains how errors, fallacies, and other key failures of argument occur. He shows how correct uses of argument are based on sound strategies for reasoned persuasion and critical (...) responses. Among the many subjects covered are: forms of valid argument, relevance, appeals to emotion, personal attack, uses and abuses of expert opinion, problems in deploying statistics, loading terms, equivocation, arguments from analogy, and techniques of posing, replying to, and criticizing questions. The book will be ideally suited to courses in informal logic and in the introduction to philosophy. It will also prove valuable to studetns of pragmatics, rhetoric, and speech communication. (shrink)
Cognitive Science is a single-source undergraduate text that broadly surveys the theories and empirical results of cognitive science within a consistent computational perspective. In addition to covering the individual contributions of psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and artificial intelligence to cognitive science, the book has been revised to introduce the connectionist approach as well as the classical symbolic approach and adds a new chapter on cognitively related advances in neuroscience. Cognitive science is a rapidly evolving field that is characterized by considerable contention (...) among different views and approaches. Cognitive Science presents these in a relatively neutral manner. It covers many new orientations theories and findings, embedding them in an integrated computational perspective and establishing a sense of continuity and contrast with more traditional work in cognitive science. The text assumes no prerequisite knowledge, introducing all topics in a uniform, accessible style. Many topics, such as natural language processing and vision, however, are developed in considerable depth, which allows the book to be used with more advanced undergraduates or even in beginning graduate settings. A Bradford Book. (shrink)
In the book’s first chapter, the topic of practical mind is approached via a brief survey of a number of important positions in the history of philosophy. The founding question for a philosophy of practical mind is raised by Aristotle when he asks what it is in the soul that originates movement. I discuss the answers to this question proposed by Plato, Aristotle himself, Hobbes and Hume, before rounding off the historical survey with a look at the introduction of the (...) notion of “pro-attitude” in the last century. The key question put to the various proposals concerns their capacity to give a unitary account of what it is that “moves” agents. Put in terms of the last of the suggestions discussed: is there a single pro-component that unites the diverse ways of being for something under one genus? And if so, is that pro-component the feature that moves us? (shrink)
This paper takes the passing of Peter McHugh as an occasion to examine the intellectual development of his work. The paper is mainly focused on the product of his collaboration with his colleague and friend, Alan Blum. As such, it addresses the tradition of social inquiry, Analysis, which they cofounded. It traces the influence of Harold Garfinkel’s Ethnomethodology on McHugh and on the beginning of Analysis. The collaboration with Blum is examined through a variety of coauthored works but (...) most especially in the two books On the Beginning of Social Inquiry (1974) and Self Reflection in the Arts and Sciences (1984). It also examines the relation of his independent writing before 1974, and since 1984 to the expression of the tradition of inquiry as exemplified in those two texts. The paper builds on some interview material with Peter McHugh and reflects on the influence of Peter the teacher as well as the theorist McHugh. Most especially, through its engagement with this material, it seeks to exemplify the dialectic and living nature of the program called Analysis. (shrink)
Chance inevitably plays a role in law but it is not often that we consciously try to import an element of randomness into a legal process. Random Justice: On Lotteries and Legal Decision-Making explores the potential for the use of lotteries in social, and particularly legal, decision-making contexts. Utilizing a variety of disciplines and materials, Neil Duxbury considers in detail the history, advantages, and drawbacks of deciding issues of social significance by lot and argues that the value of the (...) lottery as a legal decision-making device has generally been underestimated. The very fact that there exists widespread resistance to the use of lotteries for legal decision-making purposes betrays a commonly held belief that legal processes are generally more important than are legal outcomes. Where, owing to the existence of indeterminacy, the process of reasoning is likely to be excessively protracted and the reasons provided strongly contestable, the most cost-efficient and impartial decision-making strategy may well be recourse to lot. Aversion to this strategy, while generally understandable, is not necessarily rational. Yet in law, as Professor Duxbury demonstrates, reason is generally valued more highly than is rationality. The lottery is often conceived to be a decision-making device that operates in isolation. Yet lotteries can frequently and profitably be incorporated into other decision-frameworks. The book concludes by controversially considering how lotteries might be so incorporated and also advances the thesis that it may sometimes be sensible to require that adjudication takes place in the shadow of a lottery. (shrink)
In Elements of Legislation, Neil Duxbury examines the history of English law through the lens of legal philosophy in an effort to draw out the differences between judge-made and enacted law and to explain what courts do with the laws that legislatures enact. He presents a series of rigorously researched and carefully rehearsed arguments concerning the law-making functions of legislatures and courts, the concepts of legislative supremacy and judicial review, the nature of legislative intent and the core principles of (...) statutory interpretation. (shrink)
According to the fitting-attitudes account of value, for X to be good is for it to be fitting to value X. But what is it for an attitude to be fitting? A popular recent view is that it is for there to be sufficient reason for the attitude. In this paper we argue that proponents of the fitting-attitudes account should reject this view and instead take fittingness as basic. In this way they avoid the notorious ‘wrong kind of reason’ problem, (...) and can offer attractive accounts of reasons and good reasoning in terms of fittingness. (shrink)
Do pharmaceutical companies have a moral obligation to expand access to investigational drugs to patients outside the clinical trial? One reason for thinking they do not is that expanded access programs might negatively affect the clinical trial process. This potential impact creates dilemmas for practitioners who nevertheless acknowledge some moral reason for expanding access. Bioethicists have explained these reasons in terms of beneficence, compassion, or a principle of rescue, but their arguments have been limited to questions of moral permissibility, leaving (...) for future research the question of whether expanded access is morally obligatory. We take up this further question and argue that pharmaceutical companies have a moral obligation to expand access. Our defense is not based on beneficence, compassion, or rescue, but instead on a reciprocal moral expectation resulting from existing social commitments that help ensure a robust pharmaceutical practice within the broader healthcare system. Our aim is to give this obligation, along with several others, a coherent and plausible structure within the wider clinical trial process so that one might better explain the sources of the dilemmas and their possible resolutions. (shrink)
The Taming of the True poses a broad challenge to realist views of meaning and truth that have been prominent in recent philosophy. Neil Tennant argues compellingly that every truth is knowable, and that an effective logical system can be based on this principle. He lays the foundations for global semantic anti-realism and extends its consequences from the philosophy of mathematics and logic to the theory of meaning, metaphysics, and epistemology.
This paper presents two cases demonstrating that theories allowing the environment to partially determine the content of moral concepts that provide incorrect truth-conditions for moral terms. While typical Moral Twin Earth cases seek to establish that these theories fail to account formoral disagreement, neither case here essentially involves interpersonal disagreement. Both involve a single person retaining moral beliefs despite recognizing actual or potential mismatches with the purportedly content-determining facts. This lets opponents of such theories grant objections that standard Moral Twin (...) Earth cases fail to demonstrate disagreement, and argue more straightforwardly that they generate implausible truth-conditions for moral claims. (shrink)
Informed consent is a central topic in contemporary biomedical ethics. Yet attempts to set defensible and feasible standards for consenting have led to persistent difficulties. In Rethinking Informed Consent in Bioethics Neil Manson and Onora O'Neill set debates about informed consent in medicine and research in a fresh light. They show why informed consent cannot be fully specific or fully explicit, and why more specific consent is not always ethically better. They argue that consent needs distinctive communicative transactions, by (...) which other obligations, prohibitions, and rights can be waived or set aside in controlled and specific ways. Their book offers a coherent, wide-ranging and practical account of the role of consent in biomedicine which will be valuable to readers working in a range of areas in bioethics, medicine and law. (shrink)
Reasoning is a certain kind of attitude-revision. What kind? The aim of this paper is to introduce and defend a new answer to this question, based on the idea that reasoning is a goodness-fixing kind. Our central claim is that reasoning is a functional kind: it has a constitutive point or aim that fixes the standards for good reasoning. We claim, further, that this aim is to get fitting attitudes. We start by considering recent accounts of reasoning due to Ralph (...) Wedgwood and John Broome, and argue that, while these accounts contain important insights, they are not satisfactory: Wedgwood’s rules out too much, and Broome’s too little. We then introduce and defend our alternative account, discuss some of its implications and attractions, and, finally, consider objections. (shrink)
Known today mainly as a teacher of Adam Smith and an influence on David Hume, Francis Hutcheson was a first-rate thinker whose work deserves study on its own merit. While his most important contribution to the history of ideas was likely his theory of an innate sense of morality, Hutcheson also wrote on a wide variety of other subjects, including art, psychology, law, politics, economics, metaphysics, and logic. Spanning his entire literary career, this collection brings together selections from Hutcheson's greater (...) and lesser known works, including his youthful "Thoughts" on Thomas Hobbes’ egoistic theory of laughter. (shrink)
Epistemology, like ethics, is normative. Just as ethics addresses questions about how we ought to act, so epistemology addresses questions about how we ought to believe and enquire. We can also ask metanormative questions. What does it mean to claim that someone ought to do or believe something? Do such claims express beliefs about independently existing facts, or only attitudes of approval and disapproval towards certain pieces of conduct? How do putative facts about what people ought to do or believe (...) fit in to the natural world? In the case of ethics, such questions have been subject to extensive and systematic investigation, yielding the thriving subdiscipline of metaethics. Yet the corresponding questions have been largely ignored in epistemology; there is no serious subdiscipline of metaepistemology. This surprising state of affairs reflects a more general tendency for ethics and epistemology to be carried out largely in isolation from each other, despite the important substantive and structural connections between them. A movement to overturn the general tendency has only recently gained serious momentum, and has yet to tackle metanormative questions in a sustained way. This edited collection aims to stimulate this project and thus advance the new subdiscipline of metaepistemology. Its original essays draw on the sophisticated theories and frameworks that have been developed in metaethics concerning practical normativity, examine whether they can be applied to epistemic normativity, and consider what this might tell us about both. (shrink)
What makes the difference between good and bad reasoning? In this paper we defend a novel account of good reasoning—both theoretical and practical—according to which it preserves fittingness or correctness: good reasoning is reasoning which is such as to take you from fitting attitudes to further fitting attitudes, other things equal. This account, we argue, is preferable to two others that feature in the recent literature. The first, which has been made prominent by John Broome, holds that the standards of (...) good reasoning derive from rational requirements. The second holds that these standards derive from reasons. We argue that these accounts face serious difficulties in correctly distinguishing good from bad reasoning, and in explaining what's worthwhile about good reasoning. We then propose our alternative account and argue that it performs better on these counts. In the final section, we develop certain elements of the account in response to some possible objections. (shrink)
Neil Levy presents a new theory of freedom and responsibility. He defends a particular account of consciousness--the global workspace view--and argues that consciousness plays an especially important role in action. There are good reasons to think that the naïve assumption, that consciousness is needed for moral responsibility, is in fact true.
Suppose that one thinks that certain symmetries of a theory reveal “surplus structure”. What would a formalism without that surplus structure look like? The conventional answer is that it would be a reduced theory: a theory which traffics only in structures invariant under the relevant symmetry. In this paper, I argue that there is a neglected alternative: one can work with a sophisticated version of the theory, in which the symmetries act as isomorphisms.
This Element explores what it means for two theories in physics to be equivalent, and what lessons can be drawn about their structure as a result. It does so through a twofold approach. On the one hand, it provides a synoptic overview of the logical tools that have been employed in recent philosophy of physics to explore these topics: definition, translation, Ramsey sentences, and category theory. On the other, it provides a detailed case study of how these ideas may be (...) applied to understand the dynamical and spatiotemporal structure of Newtonian mechanics - in particular, in light of the symmetries of Newtonian theory. In so doing, it brings together a great deal of exciting recent work in the literature, and is sure to be a valuable companion for all those interested in these topics. (shrink)
This paper is a personal and theoretic commemoration of Peter McHugh’s life and commitment through the prism of the writer’s discovery of, and involvement in, the effort from the late 1960s to diagnose and respond to the failure of positivism in sociology. Peter’s work (with that of Alan Blum) formed a central component of that effort. I trace the genealogy of Peter’s teaching and conversational practice, to his roots in ethnomethodology and his involvement with Harold Garfinkel. This is followed (...) by an account of how Peter developed and transformed the ethnomethodological impulse, from the uninterestingly enforceable towards the invitation to share in the discovery and reconstruction of interest. The paper concludes by situating the time that is its focus, acknowledging the depth of Peter’s impact, and opening for future engagement the subsequent development of his work, in the context of various debates and questions (briefly alluded to) that form a part of the life of theorizing in the early twenty-first century. (shrink)