This paper focuses on Kant’s and Schopenhauer’s models of self-consciousness and their specific relation to time. It aims to show that genuine philosophical theories can explain the idiosyncratic relation between ourselves and the world without relying on pure metaphysical speculations or strictly empirical and phenomenally oriented conceptions, as many contemporary proponents of analytic philosophy entail. The first groundbreaking doctrine in this regard is Kant’s transcendental theory of apperception, which unfolds a new theoretical dimension of thinking, grounding the logical unity of (...) thought in the pure, originally synthetic unity of the subject itself. In order to constitute a structural order within the appearing phenomenal world, Kant conceptualizes a theory of self-affection in the second edition of the Critique of pure reason, positing a dynamic relation between the spontaneously acting intellect and the purely receptive inner sense of time as a result of productive transcendental imagination. The problematic relation between self-reliance and empirical consciousness that Kant did not resolve completely led to various subsequent transformations of Kant’s transcendental principles, one of which boasts Schopenhauer as a prominent but rarely considered representative. Schopenhauer’s systematic approach consists in a modified version of Kant’s transcendental idealism, which ties the Kantian subject of logical and transcendental unity to an intuitive corporeal individual that can only conceptualize itself as an original, willing subject. The Schopenhauerian subject unfolds its empirical character in accordance with its own inner impulses and motivations, which manifest themselves in time but can only be interpreted as a phenomenal representation of a higher, metaphysical unity, which Schopenhauer calls the will as a thing in itself. Schopenhauer reaches his final metaphysical conclusion via a problematic analogy, positing another perspective on the corporeal nature of the individual which, by means of abstraction, can be extended to the whole phenomenal world. Therefore, Schopenhauer interprets the underlying character of the subject and the phenomenal world as a whole as a timeless, omnipresent will to live which can be temporally experienced within the nature of our own subjectivity. (shrink)
Die vorliegende Abhandlung versucht die systematischen und ontologischen Gründe für Schopenhauers politische Philosophie darzulegen, indem insbesondere auf die Verbindung von kontraktualistischen und metaphysischen Elementen in seiner Staatskonzeption eingegangen wird. Dabei wird sich zeigen, dass Schopenhauers Begriffe des „Rechts“ und „Unrechts“ innerhalb eines institutionellen Gesamtrahmens nicht ohne den systematischen Horizont der „Welt als Wille und Vorstellung“ begriffen werden können, der insbesondere auf der kantischen Unterscheidung zwischen Erscheinung und Ding an sich beruht. Die immanenten Implikationen seiner metaphysischen Annahmen sollten daher als Grundlage (...) für staatliches Handeln und der damit verknüpften Funktion von Autorität, die sich in institutionalisierter Strafe und anderen Einschränkungen niederschlägt, mitbedacht werden, insofern sie letztlich als phänomenale Manifestationen eines universellen Substrats zu begreifen sind, das Schopenhauer als „Wille“ bestimmt. Keywords: state, temporal and eternal justice, right and wrong. (shrink)
This paper analyses J.S. Mill's theory on the relationships between individual autonomy and State powers. It will be argued that there is a significant discrepancy between Mill's general liberal statements aimed to secure individual largest possible autonomy and the specific examples which provide the government with quite wide latitude for interference in the public and private spheres. The paper outlines the boundaries of government interference in the Millian theory. Subsequently it describes Mill's elastic paternalism designed to prevent people from inflicting (...) harm upon others as well as upon themselves, from soft paternalism on issues like compulsory education to hard paternalism on very private matters such as marriage, having children, and divorce by consent. (shrink)
Professor Maurice Cranston, who died suddenly on 5 November 1993, was a man of many talents. Pre-eminent as a biographer of Locke and Rousseau, he was also distinguished for his own contribution to political philosophy and for his capacity to expound the political thought of others in clear, simple language. He did this with great success not only in the lecture room but also in numerous broadcast talks and discussions, notably on the Third Programme of the BBC. In his academic (...) work he was particularly well informed on French political thought, contemporary as much as classical, and he wrote extensively on Sartre and more briefly on Camus and Foucault. He was himself fluent in the French language and he translated Rousseau's Social Contract and Discourse on Inequality for the Penguin Classics series. He was proficient in German and Italian too, and he knew enough Danish to translate a book on Wittgenstein written in that language. His love of literature often led him to illustrate philosophical points with apt examples from classical novels. He even wrote a couple of novels himself in his youth. It will be plain from this brief catalogue that he was an eminently civilized person. He was, in addition, an exceptionally friendly man and engagingly modest about his own abilities. (shrink)
In the introductory chapter of his essay on Utilitarianism, John Stuart Mill says his aim is to contribute towards the understanding of utilitarianism and towards ‘such proof as it is susceptible of’. He immediately adds that ‘this cannot be proof in the ordinary and popular meaning of the term’ because ‘ultimate ends are not amenable to direct proof’. A proof that something is good has to show that it is ‘a means to something admitted to be good without proof’. But, (...) he goes on, this does not imply that a formula of ultimate ends can only be accepted on ‘blind impulse, or arbitrary choice’. It can be rationally discussed and subjected to proof in a wider sense of that word. ‘Considerations may be presented capable of determining the intellect either to give or withhold its assent to the doctrine; and this is equivalent to proof.’. (shrink)
We hear nowadays in literary criticism of a type of novel that is an ‘anti-novel’ and of a type of hero who is an ‘anti-hero’. I recently read an article which argued, rather well in my opinion, that the later philosophy of Wittgenstein is an anti-philosophy. One could say the same of the philosophie positive of Auguste Comte, who is often called the father of sociology. The principle with which Comte starts off his philosophy, ‘the fundamental law of mental development’, (...) would put an end to philosophy as traditionally conceived, and would replace it by science. According to Comte, human inquiry goes through three stages. In the first stage, the theological or fictive, men try to give explanations in terms of supernatural beings. At the second stage, the metaphysical or abstract, theological explanation has given way to explanation in terms of abstract entities such as Absolute Motion or Absolute Justice. In the third stage, the scientific or positive, metaphysical explanations have given way to scientific explanations, that is to explanations which do not refer to any unobservable entities but instead simply correlate observable phenomena with each other. This is a picture of intellectual history in which philosophy takes the place of theology and then science takes the place of philosophy. (shrink)
What darkness was the ‘Enlightenment’ supposed to have removed? The answer is irrational forms of religion. Most of the ‘enlightened’ took the view that revealed religion was irrational and that natural religion could be rational; but some were sceptical about natural religion too. Hume was the most honest and the most penetrating thinker of the latter group. His biographer, Professor E. C. Mossner, is not alone in believing that the Dialogues concerning Natural Religion is ‘his philosophical testament’.
Everybody supports freedom—even authoritarians, though what they call freedom looks suspiciously like bondage. Rousseau begins The Social Contract with a flourish: ‘Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.’ He ends up by trying to persuade us that the chains, the restraints of law and organized society, are necessary for true freedom. He wants us to believe that true freedom, the freedom essential for human existence, is not the happy-go-lucky freedom of Liberty Hall, do as you like, but (...) the straight and narrow path of duty, of conformity to law. The universal popularity of the idea of freedom does not mean that everybody is really agreed about it. Plato, Rousseau, Hegel and his followers—they all talk of a true or genuine freedom, but they oppose this to Liberty Hall, to doing as you please. (shrink)
In recent years, the scientific study of meditation and psychedelic drugs has seen remarkable developments. The increased focus on meditation in cognitive neuroscience has led to a cross-cultural classification of standard meditation styles validated by functional and structural neuroanatomical data. Meanwhile, the renaissance of psychedelic research has shed light on the neurophysiology of altered states of consciousness induced by classical psychedelics, such as psilocybin and LSD, whose effects are mainly mediated by agonism of serotonin receptors. Few attempts have been made (...) at bridging these two domains of inquiry, despite intriguing evidence of overlap between the phenomenology and neurophysiology of meditation practice and psychedelic states. In particular, many contemplative traditions explicitly aim at dissolving the sense of self by eliciting altered states of consciousness through meditation, while classical psychedelics are known to produce significant disruptions of self-consciousness, a phenomenon known as drug-induced ego dissolution. In this article, we discuss available evidence regarding convergences and differences between phenomenological and neurophysiological data on meditation practice and psychedelic drug-induced states, with a particular emphasis on alterations of self-experience. While both meditation and psychedelics may disrupt self-consciousness and underlying neural processes, we emphasize that neither meditation nor psychedelic states can be conceived as simple, uniform categories. Moreover, we suggest that there are important phenomenological differences even between conscious states described as experiences of self-loss. As a result, we propose that self-consciousness may be best construed as a multidimensional construct, and that “self-loss,” far from being an unequivocal phenomenon, can take several forms. Indeed, various aspects of self-consciousness, including narrative aspects linked to autobiographical memory, self-related thoughts and mental time travel, and embodied aspects rooted in multisensory processes, may be differently affected by psychedelics and meditation practices. Finally, we consider long-term outcomes of experiences of self-loss induced by meditation and psychedelics on individual traits and prosocial behavior. We call for caution regarding the problematic conflation of temporary states of self-loss with “selflessness” as a behavioral or social trait, although there is preliminary evidence that correlations between short-term experiences of self-loss and long-term trait alterations may exist. (shrink)
Semmelweis’s discovery of the cause of puerperal fever around the middle of the 19th century counts among the paradigm cases of scientific discovery. For several decades, philosophers of science have used the episode to illustrate, appraise and compare views of proper scientific methodology.Here I argue that the episode can be profitably reexamined in light of two cognate notions: causal reasoning and mechanisms. Semmelweis used several causal reasoning strategies both to support his own and to reject competing hypotheses. However, these strategies (...) have gone unappreciated in the existing literature. I show that a causal reasoning approach makes sense of the multitude of tables in Semmelweis’s main text, which in later editions were often abridged because they appeared redundant.Moreover, the existing literature tends to focus on Semmelweis’s clinical intervention and on the extent to which it alone confirms his theoretical conclusions. This neglects Semmelweis’s efforts to show by animal experiments that his clinical results are in agreement with a demonstrable mechanism of puerperal fever pathogenesis. I argue that the full evidential force of Semmelweis’s argument can only be appreciated if both his clinical and his laboratory investigations are taken into account. (shrink)
According to the "confrontation model," integrated history and philosophy of science operates like an empirical science. It tests philosophical accounts of science against historical case studies much like other sciences test theory against data. However, the confrontation model's critics object that historical facts can neither support generalizations nor genuinely test philosophical theories. Here I argue that most of the model's defects trace to its usual framing in terms of two problematic accounts of empirical inference: the hypothetico-deductive method and enumerative induction. (...) This framing can be taken to suggest an unprofitable one-off confrontation between particular historical facts and general philosophical theories. I outline more recent accounts of empirical inquiry, which describe an iterative back-and-forth movement between concrete empirical exemplars to their abstract descriptions. Reframed along similar lines, the confrontation model continues to offer both conceptual insight and practical guidance for a naturalized philosophy of science. (shrink)
Aristotle's Eudemian Ethics has been unjustly neglected in comparison with its more famous counterpart the Nicomachean Ethics. This is in large part due to the fact that until recently no complete translation of the work has been available. But the Eudemian Ethics is a masterpiece in its own right, offering valuable insights into Aristotle's ideas on virtue, happiness and the good life. This volume offers a translation by Brad Inwood and Raphael Woolf that is both fluent and exact, and (...) an introduction in which they help the reader to gain a deeper understanding both of the Eudemian Ethics and of its relation to the Nicomachean Ethics and to Aristotle's ethical thought as a whole. The explanatory notes address Aristotle's many references to other works, people and events. The volume will be of interest to students and scholars of the history of ethics, ancient and moral philosophy, and Aristotle studies. (shrink)
P. M. Asaro: What should We Want from a Robot Ethic? G. Tamburrini: Robot Ethics: A View from the Philosophy of Science B. Becker: Social Robots - Emotional Agents: Some Remarks on Naturalizing Man-machine Interaction E. Datteri, G. Tamburrini: Ethical Reflections on Health Care Robotics P. Lin, G. Bekey, K. Abney: Robots in War: Issues of Risk and Ethics J. Altmann: Preventive Arms Control for Uninhabited Military Vehicles J. Weber: Robotic warfare, Human Rights & The Rhetorics of Ethical Machines T. (...) Nishida: Towards Robots with Good Will R. Capurro: Ethics and Robotics. (shrink)
This volume collects reflections on the role of philosophy in case studies in the history of science. Case studies have played a prominent role in recent history and philosophy of science. They have been used to illustrate, question, explore, or explicate philosophical points of view. Even if not explicitly so, historical narratives are always guided by philosophical background assumptions. But what happens if different philosophies lead to different narratives of the same historical episodes? Can historical case studies decide between competing (...) philosophical viewpoints? What are the criteria that a case study has to fulfill in order to be philosophically relevant? Bringing together leading practitioners in the fields of history and philosophy of the physical and the life sciences, this volume addresses this methodological problem and proposes ways of rendering explicit philosophical assumptions of historical work. (shrink)
D. D. Raphael examines the moral philosophy of Adam Smith (1723-90), best known for his famous work on economics, The Wealth of Nations, and shows that his thought still has much to offer philosophers today. Raphael gives particular attention to Smith's original theory of conscience, with its emphasis on the role of 'sympathy' (shared feelings).
There is a paradox lying at the heart of the study of heredity. To understand the ways in which features are passed down from one generation to the next, we have to dig deeper and deeper into the ultimate nature of things - from organisms, to genes, to molecules. And yet as we do this, increasingly we find we are out of focus with our subjects. What has any of this to do with the living, breathing organisms with which we (...) started? Organisms are living. Molecules are not. How do we relate one to the other? In Genetic Analysis, one of the most important empirical scientists in the field in the twentieth century attempts, through a study of history and drawing on his own vast experience as a practitioner, to face this paradox head-on. His book offers a deep and innovative understanding of our ways of thinking about heredity. (shrink)
This paper takes part in the ongoing debate on how emotions can be dealt with by argumentation theory. Its main goal is to formulate a relationship between emotion and argumentation which differs from that usually found in most of the literature on the subject. In the “standard” conception, emotions are seen as the objects of appeals which function as adjuvants to argumentation: speakers appeal to pity, fear, shame and the like in order to enhance the cogency of an argument which (...) bears on something else—whether it be the validity of a disputable opinion or the opportunity of a course of action. According to the “alternative” conception which I propose to consider, emotions themselves may be viewed, in some cases, as the very objects of argumentation. This conception lays emphasis on the arguability of emotions. Drawing on insights from current psychological and philosophical theories, it involves a reassessment of the Aristotelian concept of pathos, as well as an in-depth critical discussion of normative and descriptive approaches to emotional appeals. (shrink)
There has been much written of late on the topic of panentheism. Dissatisfied with many contemporary descriptions of “panentheism” and the related “pantheism,” which we feel arise out of theistic presuppositions, we produce our own definition of sorts, rooted in and paying respect to the term’s etymology and the concept’s roots in Indian religion and western philosophy. Furthermore, we consider and comment on the arguments and comments concerning panentheism’s definition and plausibility put forth by Göcke, Mullins, and Nickel.
The Lotka–Volterra predator-prey-model is a widely known example of model-based science. Here we reexamine Vito Volterra’s and Umberto D’Ancona’s original publications on the model, and in particular their methodological reflections. On this basis we develop several ideas pertaining to the philosophical debate on the scientific practice of modeling. First, we show that Volterra and D’Ancona chose modeling because the problem in hand could not be approached by more direct methods such as causal inference. This suggests a philosophically insightful motivation for (...) choosing the strategy of modeling. Second, we show that the development of the model follows a trajectory from a “how possibly” to a “how actually” model. We discuss how and to what extent Volterra and D’Ancona were able to advance their model along that trajectory. It turns out they were unable to establish that their model was fully applicable to any system. Third, we consider another instance of model-based science: Darwin’s model of the origin and distribution of coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean. Darwin argued more successfully that his model faithfully represents the causal structure of the target system, and hence that it is a “how actually” model. (shrink)
If we consider the field of argumentation studies, we notice that many approaches consider argumentation in a pragmatic manner and define it as a verbal activity oriented towards the realization of a goal . The idea that subtends—in an explicit or implicit way—most of these approaches is that argumentation fundamentally aims to produce an effect upon an addressee, and that this effect consists in a change of attitude with respect to a viewpoint : argumentation theories inevitably confront the issue of (...) persuasion. In this article, I defend, on the contrary, the hypothesis that it is not necessary to have recourse to the notion of persuasion, nor even to speak of an attempt to provoke a change of attitude in the addressee , in order to develop a general definition of argumentation. It seems to me that there are serious reasons to uncouple, insofar as a definition is concerned, argumentation and persuasion. I will look to identify these reasons, to formulate them and to evaluate their strength. In the same vein as recent works by Christian Plantin and Marc Angenot, I will try to contribute to the development of a non - persuasive conception of argumentation. Such a conception bases the definition of argumentation on the pragmatic aims of “justification” and “positioning”, as well as on the articulation of a discourse and a counter-discourse. I argue that such a conception might offer a better empirical adequacy than those that link, insofar as a definition, the argumentative activity and the persuasive aim. (shrink)
The main title of this work is a little misleading. Hobbs does not begin to consider in any detail Plato’s relation to traditional Greek models of the hero until chapter 6, nearly two-thirds of the way through the book. In fact, Hobbs’s treatment of Plato’s re-working of the hero-figure is embedded in a nexus of themes revolving round the Greek virtue of andreia and its psychological basis in that part of the soul that Plato in the Republic calls the thumos. (...) Commonly translated ‘spirit’, the term is notoriously hard to render by a single English equivalent. Plato’s conception of this human drive can be captured, according to Hobbs’s succinct phrase, as “the need to believe that one counts for something”. (shrink)
Theistic and analytic philosophers of religion typically privilege classical theism and monotheism by ignoring or underestimating the great threat of polytheism. We develop an argument from infinitely many alternatives, which decisively demonstrates that if a monotheistic or polytheistic god-model obtains, it will almost certainly be polytheistic. Probabilistic calculations are performed in order to illustrate the difficulties faced by the monotheistic proponent. After considering possible objections, such as whether there should be limits placed on how many possible god-models could obtain, we (...) conclude that our argument from infinitely many alternatives is sound, and highly unlikely to be overcome. (shrink)
There is converging evidence that high doses of hallucinogenic drugs can produce significant alterations of self-experience, described as the dissolution of the sense of self and the loss of boundaries between self and world. This article discusses the relevance of this phenomenon, known as “drug-induced ego dissolution (DIED)”, for cognitive neuroscience, psychology and philosophy of mind. Data from self-report questionnaires suggest that three neuropharmacological classes of drugs can induce ego dissolution: classical psychedelics, dissociative anesthetics and agonists of the kappa opioid (...) receptor (KOR). While these substances act on different neurotransmitter receptors, they all produce strong subjective effects that can be compared to the symptoms of acute psychosis, including ego dissolution. It has been suggested that neuroimaging of DIED can indirectly shed light on the neural correlates of the self. While this line of inquiry is promising, its results must be interpreted with caution. First, neural correlates of ego dissolution might reveal the necessary neurophysiological conditions for the maintenance of the sense of self, but it is more doubtful that this method can reveal its minimally sufficient conditions. Second, it is necessary to define the relevant notion of self at play in the phenomenon of DIED. This article suggests that DIED consists in the disruption of subpersonal processes underlying the “minimal” or “embodied” self, i.e., the basic experience of being a self rooted in multimodal integration of self-related stimuli. This hypothesis is consistent with Bayesian models of phenomenal selfhood, according to which the subjective structure of conscious experience ultimately results from the optimization of predictions in perception and action. Finally, it is argued that DIED is also of particular interest for philosophy of mind. On the one hand, it challenges theories according to which consciousness always involves self-awareness. On the other hand, it suggests that ordinary conscious experience might involve a minimal kind of self-awareness rooted in multisensory processing, which is what appears to fade away during DIED. (shrink)
In his recent article in Sophia, Benedikt Paul Göcke concluded that ‘as long as we do not have a sound argument entailing the necessity of the world, panentheism is not an attractive alternative to classical theism’ : 75). As the article progresses, Göcke clarifies his view of what panentheism is, essentially identical to Göcke’s view of classical theism in every way, except in the world’s modal relation to God. This concept is vastly different to many of the panentheistic notions that (...) are more commonly held. While it is not initially made transparent—especially with the label Göcke chooses to use—it becomes increasingly clear that Göcke critiques a God concept of his own making. More common variations of panentheism are contrasted with Göcke’s version, in order to provide a broader and more accurate view of the ancient concept, and to demonstrate that Göcke’s view of panentheism is idiosyncratic. It is finally explained that even if Göcke’s view of panentheism were definitive, he has not successfully argued for the relative unattractiveness of the concept, relative to his view of classical theism. (shrink)
Raphael Meldola (1849-1915), an industrial chemist and keen naturalist, under the influence of Darwin, brought new German studies on evolution by natural selection that appeared in the 1870s to the attention of the British scientific community. Meldola's special interest was in mimicry among butterflies; through this he became a prominent neo-Darwinian. His wide-ranging achievements in science led to appointments as president of important professional scientific societies, and of a local club of like-minded amateurs, particularly field naturalists. This is an (...) account of Meldola's early scientific connections and studies related to entomology and natural selection, his contributions to the study of mimicry, and his promotion in the mid-1890s of a more theory driven approach among entomologists. (shrink)
In his seminal Inference to the Best Explanation, Peter Lipton adopted a causal view of explanation and a broadly Millian view of how causal knowledge is obtained. This made his account vulnerable to critics who charged that Inference to the Best Explanation is merely a dressed-up version of Mill’s methods, which in the critics’ view do the real inductive work. Lipton advanced two arguments to protect Inference to the Best Explanation against this line of criticism: the problem of multiple differences (...) and the problem of inferred differences. Lipton claimed that these two problems show Mill’s method of difference to be largely unworkable unless it is embedded in an explanationist framework. Here I consider both arguments as well as the best Millian defense against them. Since the existing Millian defense is only partially successful, I will develop a new and improved account. As an integral part of the argument, I show that my solutions to the problems of multiple and inferred differences offer new insight into Lipton’s main case study: Ignaz Semmelweis’s discovery of the cause of childbed fever. I conclude that the method of difference can overcome Lipton’s challenges outside an explanationist framework. (shrink)
We investigate the context of discovery of two significant achievements of twentieth century biochemistry: the chemiosmotic mechanism of oxidative phosphorylation and the dark reaction of photosynthesis. The pursuit of these problems involved discovery strategies such as the transfer, recombination and reversal of previous causal and mechanistic knowledge in biochemistry. We study the operation and scope of these strategies by careful historical analysis, reaching a number of systematic conclusions: even basic strategies can illuminate “hard cases” of scientific discovery that go far (...) beyond simple extrapolation or analogy; the causal–mechanistic approach to discovery permits a middle course between the extremes of a completely substrate-neutral and a completely domain-specific view of scientific discovery; the existing literature on mechanism discovery underemphasizes the role of combinatorial approaches in defining and exploring search spaces of possible problem solutions; there is a subtle interplay between a fine-grained mechanistic and a more coarse-grained causal level of analysis, and both are needed to make discovery processes intelligible. (shrink)
Models for truth in fiction must be able to account for differing versions and interpretations of a given fiction in such a way that prevents contradictions from arising. I propose an analysis of truth in fiction designed to accommodate this. I examine both the interpretation of claims about truth in fiction and the metaphysical nature of fictional worlds and entities. My reply to the Interpretation Problem is a semantic contextualism influenced by Cameron, while my reply to the Metaphysical Problem involves (...) an extension and generalisation of the counterpart-theoretic analysis put forth by Lewis. The proposed analysis considers interpretive context as a counterpart relation corresponding to a set of worlds, W, and states that a sentence φ is true in interpretive context W iff φ is true at every world. I consider the implications of this analysis for singular terms in fiction, concluding that their extensions are the members of sets of counterparts. In the case of pre-existing singular terms in fiction, familiar properties of the corresponding actual-world entities are salient in restricting the counterpart relation. I also explore interpretations of sentences concerning multiple fictions and those concerning both fictional and actual entities. This account tolerates a plurality of interpretive approaches, avoiding contradictions. (shrink)
This monograph offers a critique of arguments for the existence of a specifically Christian God advanced by prominent scholar William Lane Craig. The discussion incorporates philosophical, mathematical, scientific, historical, and sociological approaches. The author does not seek to criticize religion in general, or Christianity specifically. Rather, he examines the modern and relatively sophisticated evidential case for Christian theism. Scholars have been arguing for theism or naturalism for centuries, and there seems little to add to the discussion, especially from the theistic (...) side. However, to assume that either theism or naturalism obtains is a false dichotomy. There are alternatives to both that merit consideration. Employing a probabilistic approach, the author advances this discussion. His work uniquely utilizes not only naturalistic hypotheses to argue against theism. It also presents supernaturalistic hypotheses. This leaves no question that theism is almost certainly false, even if some form of divine reality exists. This project seeks not to argue that Christianity or any other faith or religion is undesirable, but only to critically examine evidentialist claims posited by Christianity’s learned apologists. In fact, a major secondary aim is to consider alternative god-conceptions, such as polytheism and pantheism. This work aims to highlight that Christian theism is often granted special privileges by theistic philosophers of religion, which seems doubly inappropriate when certain alternative god-conceptions may even prove to be more plausible. (shrink)
Mendel's work in hybridization is ipso facto a study in inheritance. He is explicit in his interest to formulate universal generalizations, and at least in the case of the independent segregation of traits, he formulated his conclusions in the form of a law. Mendel did not discern, however, the inheritance of traits from that of the potential for traits. Choosing to study discrete non-overlapping traits, this did not hamper his efforts.
Mayr’s proximate–ultimate distinction has received renewed interest in recent years. Here we discuss its role in arguments about the relevance of developmental to evolutionary biology. We show that two recent critiques of the proximate–ultimate distinction fail to explain why developmental processes in particular should be of interest to evolutionary biologists. We trace these failures to a common problem: both critiques take the proximate–ultimate distinction to neglect specific causal interactions in nature. We argue that this is implausible, and that the distinction (...) should instead be understood in the context of explanatory abstractions in complete causal models of evolutionary change. Once the debate is reframed in this way, the proximate–ultimate distinction’s role in arguments against the theoretical significance of evo-devo is seen to rely on a generally implicit premise: that the variation produced by development is abundant, small and undirected. We show that a “lean version” of the proximate–ultimate distinction can be maintained even when this isotropy assumption does not hold. Finally, we connect these considerations to biological practice. We show that the investigation of developmental constraints in evolutionary transitions has long relied on a methodology which foregrounds the explanatory role of developmental processes. It is, however, entirely compatible with the lean version of the proximate–ultimate distinction. (shrink)
In this new and enlarged edition of a standard introduction to moral philosophy, Raphael shows in clear and simple language the connections between abstract ethics and practical problems in law, government, medicine, and the social sciences in general. Moral Philosophy deals with six main areas. First, it looks at the two opposed traditions of naturalism and rationalism, and considers more recent discussion in terms of logic and language. Next, it explores the attractions and defects of Utilitarianism, and then turns (...) to its main rival, Kantian ethics, which Raphael favors in a modified form. The third section shows how different moral views are related to different theories about justice and liberty. The fourth examines the problem of free will and determinism in the context of the presuppositions of science, especially in the social sciences. This second edition enlarges the relation of moral philosophy to other concerns, with two new chapters: one on ethics and evolution, the other on medical ethics. (shrink)