By modifying the body in meaningful ways, human beings establish their identity and social status. Lip plugs, ear plugs, penis sheaths, cosmetics, ornaments, scarification, body piercings, and genital modifications encode and transmit messages about age, sex, social status, health, and attractiveness from one individual to another. Through sociocultural sexual selection, male genital modification plays an important role as a sociosexual signal in both male competition and female mate choice. The reliability of the signal correlates with the cost of acquiring the (...) trait. Women use a variety of cues to assess male quality. Male genital modification is one way that some women assess their mates. Extreme male genital modifications not only honestly advertise status, sexual potency, and ability to provide sexual satisfaction, they may provide a reliable index of male-female cooperation through the male’s commitment to endure pain and risk. (shrink)
"All ravens are black" is logically but not confirmationally equivalent with "all non-black things are non-ravens." But this is impossible, given that logical equivalence guarantees confirmational equivalence. In this paper, this paradox is solved.
According to popular belief, Charles II of England once heard a prophecy that if ravens left the Tower of London it would "fall," so he ordered that the wings of seven ravens in the Tower be trimmed. Until recently, this claim was not challenged even in scholarly literature. There are, however, no allusions to the Tower Ravens before the end of the nineteenth century. The ravens, today meticulously cared for by Yeoman Warders, are largely an invented tradition, designed to give (...) an impression of continuity with the past. This article examines the few known references, both graphic and textual, to the Tower Ravens through 1906. It concludes that the ravens were originally brought in to dramatize the alleged site of executions at the Tower. Although not accorded great significance at first, legends that would eventually make the ravens mascots of Britain began outside of the Tower. (shrink)
This paper provides an explanation of why sightings of black ravens increase the degree of warranted belief in the proposition that all ravens are black, while observations of white shoes do not. The explanation, which allows a Bayesian interpretation, rests on an assumption of the redundancy (i.e., lawfulness) of nature.
Some believe reality is dynamic: time passes, not just in our experience of reality, but objectively, in reality itself. There are many objections to this view. I focus on the rate objection: that time passes only if it passes at the rate of 1 second per second, but that it cannot coherently pass at that rate. Existing replies to this objection do not fully engage with its motivation. My aim is to refute the rate objection. Time can coherently pass at (...) the rate of 1 second per second. This does not conclusively show that time passes, but it removes one of the main obstacles to believing that it does. (shrink)
I argue that the standard Bayesian solution to the ravens paradox— generally accepted as the most successful solution to the paradox—is insufficiently general. I give an instance of the paradox which is not solved by the standard Bayesian solution. I defend a new, more general solution, which is compatible with the Bayesian account of confirmation. As a solution to the paradox, I argue that the ravens hypothesis ought not to be held equivalent to its contrapositive; more interestingly, I argue that (...) how we formally represent hypotheses ought to vary with the context of inquiry. This explains why the paradox is compelling, while dealing with standard objections to holding hypotheses inequivalent to their contrapositives. (shrink)
This study surveys the career and political philosophy of Alexander Raven Thomson, one of Sir Oswald Mosley's lieutenants in the British Union of Fascists (BUF), the largest party on the extreme right in Britain in the interwar era. It explores key issues relating to the BUF, such as: What type of society did Thomson and the Blackshirts wish to establish in Britain? Who were some of the major domestic and international intellectual influences on him and the BUF? Was the (...) BUF essentially a homegrown movement or was it, as critics argued, an imitation of Italian and German fascism? What does Thomson's career reveal about the inner politics of the movement? The aim of this article is to provide a better understanding of Thomson, one of the lesser-studied BUF officials, and of the movement to which he devoted his life. (shrink)
The discussion about the Raven Paradox is ever-renewing: after nearly 70 years, many authors propose from time to time new solutions, and many authors state that these solutions are unsatisfactory. It is worthy to be carefully noted that though most arguments in favor or against the paradox are based on the notion of “probability” and on the application of Bayes’ law, not one of them makes use of the Kolmogorov axiomatic theory of probability and on the subsequent notion of (...) “random variable”. This seems to be due to a preference for the purely logical interpretation of the notion of “probability” which makes it possible to assign a probability value to propositions expressing natural (universal) laws. This paper aims at presenting an attempt to contribute a solution to the paradox by the proposal of a different way to express universal natural laws and by the use of a language which does not allow one to apply probability to universal statements. (shrink)
Simple random sampling resolutions of the raven paradox relevantly diverge from scientific practice. We develop a stratified random sampling model, yielding a better fit and apparently rehabilitating simple random sampling as a legitimate idealization. However, neither accommodates a second concern, the objection from potential bias. We develop a third model that crucially invokes causal considerations, yielding a novel resolution that handles both concerns. This approach resembles Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) and relates the generalization’s confirmation to confirmation of (...) an associated law. We give it an objective Bayesian formalization and discuss the compatibility of Bayesianism and IBE. (shrink)
This article discusses the problem of non-zero probabilities for non-tautologous universal generalizations in Rudolf Carnap’s inductive logic when the domain of discourse is infinite. A solution is provided for a generalization of the form “all Xs are Ys”, for example “all ravens all black”. The solution is based on assuming that a significant part of the domain consists of non-Xs. This assumption can often be justified as a kind of ceteris paribus principle.
This essay focuses on a recently prominent notion of ground which is distinctive for how it links metaphysics to explanation. Ground is supposed to serve both as the common factor in diverse in virtue of questions as well as the structuring relation in the project of explaining how some phenomena are “built” from more fundamental phenomena. My aim is to provide an opinionated synopsis of this notion of ground without engaging with others. Ground, so understood, generally resists illumination by appeal (...) to more familiar models of explanation. Nevertheless, its distinctive explanatory and metaphysical aspects guide us on characterizing its explanatory logic and its metaphysical features. Some issues concerning the meta-question of what grounds ground are explored, as well as some recent skeptical challenges to ground. (shrink)
I defend (metaphysical) ground against recent, unanswered objections aiming to dismiss it from serious philosophical inquiry. Interest in ground stems from its role in the venerable metaphysical project of identifying which facts hold in virtue of others. Recent work on ground focuses on regimenting it. But many reject ground itself, seeing regimentation as yet another misguided attempt to regiment a bad idea (like phlogiston or astrology). I defend ground directly against objections that it is confused, incoherent, or fruitless. This vindicates (...) the very attempt to regiment ground. It also refocuses our attention on the genuine open questions about ground and away from the distracting, unpersuasive reasons for dismissing them. (shrink)
‘We were driving through Death Valley, an American-Australian and two Aussies, taking the scenic route from Las Vegas to Santa Cruz.’ This multi-voiced account of multispecies encounters along a highway takes up the challenge of playful and humorous writing that is as well deeply serious and theoretically provocative. Our travels brought us into what Donna Haraway calls the contact zone: a region of recognition and response. The contact zone is a place of significant questions: ‘Who are you, and so who (...) are we? Here we are, and so what are we to become?’ Events were everything in this ecology of play, in which the movements of all the actors involved the material field in its entirety. We were brought into dances of approach and withdrawal, dances emerging directly, to paraphrase Brian Massumi, from the dynamic relation between a myriad of charged particles. (shrink)
A commonly held view is that a central aim of metaphysics is to give a fundamental account of reality which refers only to the fundamental entities. But a puzzle arises. It is at least a working hypothesis for those pursuing the aim that, first, there must be fundamental entities. But, second, it also seems possible that the world has no foundation, with each entity depending on others. These two claims are inconsistent with the widely held third claim that the fundamental (...) just is the foundational. It is tempting to resolve the puzzle by rejecting the first or second claim, perhaps because it is obscure how the third claim might plausibly be challenged. But I develop a new analysis of fundamentality which challenges the third claim by allowing for an entity to be fundamental without being foundational. The analysis, roughly, is that an entity is fundamental just in case not all facts about it are grounded in facts about other entities. The possibility of fundamentality without foundations not only provides for a novel resolution to the puzzle, but has applications to some live debates: for example, it undermines Jonathan Schaffer's modal argument for priority monism. (shrink)
According to Hempel's paradox, evidence (E) that an object is a nonblack nonraven confirms the hypothesis (H) that every raven is black. According to the standard Bayesian solution, E does confirm H but only to a minute degree. This solution relies on the almost never explicitly defended assumption that the probability of H should not be affected by evidence that an object is nonblack. I argue that this assumption is implausible, and I propose a way out for Bayesians. Introduction (...) Hempel's paradox, the standard Bayesian solution, and the disputed assumption Attempts to defend the disputed assumption Attempts to refute the disputed assumption A way out for Bayesians Conclusion. (shrink)
Interest surges in a distinctively metaphysical notion of ground. But a Schism has emerged between Orthodoxy’s view of ground as inducing a strict partial order structure on reality and Heresy’s rejection of this view. What’s at stake is the structure of reality (for proponents of ground), or even ground itself (for those who think this Schism casts doubt upon its coherence). I defend Orthodoxy against Heresy.
Hempel's paradox of the ravens arises from the inconsistency of three prima facie plausible principles of confirmation. This paper uses Carnapian inductive logic to (a) identify which of the principles is false, (b) give insight into why this principle is false, and (c) identify a true principle that is sufficiently similar to the false one that failure to distinguish the two might explain why the false principle is prima facie plausible. This solution to the paradox is compared with a variety (...) of other responses and is shown to differ from all of them. (shrink)
Bernd Heinrich and Maine ravens are exemplars of Despret's concepts of politeness, “faire connaissance” and recruitment. He was dissuaded by his mentor from studying them due to their intelligence and their recalcitrance against reductive methods. Gaining their conﬁdence would take years. Once he did so they allowed him to see an astonishing range of behaviors and they accepted him as a socius. This was research that took into account the interests of the ravens themselves to answer complicated questions about their (...) behavior. Ravens also practice this intermingling of interests and action with wolves. (shrink)
Astronomers study the behaviour of the stars; philosophers of science study the behaviour of the astronomers. Philosophers of science, alongside historians and sociologists of science, are in the business of accounting for how science works and what it achieves. There is more to the philosophy of science than principled descriptions of scientific activity, since there are also all the normative questions of justification and warrant, but the descriptive task is an important part of the discipline and the primary focus of (...) the present essay. (shrink)
Background: The COVID-19 crisis has had a considerable mental health impact on healthcare workers. High levels of psychological distress are expected to have a significant impact on healthcare systems, warranting the need for evidence-based psychological interventions targeting stress and fostering resilience in this population. Online cognitive behavioral therapy has proved to be effective in targeting stress and promoting resilience. However, online CBT programs targeting stress in healthcare workers are lacking.Objective: The aim of our study is to evaluate the feasibility and (...) acceptability of an internet-based CBT intervention, the My Health Too program we developed during the first COVID-19 epidemic peak in France.Methods: We recruited 10 participants among Alsace region hospital staff during the first peak of the pandemic in France. They were given 1 week to test the website and were then asked to answer an internet survey and a semi-structured phone interview.Results: We conducted a thematic analysis of the content from the phone interviews. Major themes were identified, discussed and coded: the technical aspects, the content of the website and its impact on participants’ emotions and everyday life. Overall, the participants reported finding the website easy to use and interactive. They described the resources as easy to understand, readily usable, and useful in inducing calm and in helping them practice self-compassion.Conclusion: Our results suggest that the My Health Too online CBT program is highly feasible and acceptable to healthcare workers during the highly stressful times of the pandemic peak. The feedback provided helped to improve the program whose efficacy is to be tested. (shrink)
There has been much recent interest in a distinctively metaphysical kind of determinative explanation: ground. This paper concerns various skeptical challenges to ground’s relevance to metaphysics, such as that it is an empty posit, that the work it is supposed to do is appropriated by other notions, and that it is inapt for specific issues it should serve. I argue against these challenges. My strategy is both critical and constructive. Critical because I argue that versions of these challenges raised by (...) Elizabeth Barnes, Kathrin Koslicki, Mari Mikkola, and Jessica Wilson are not persuasive. Constructive because we may nevertheless learn from them new work for ground. (shrink)
In the Critique of the Power of Judgment, Kant develops a rigorous formulation of aesthetic judgments, in which he makes a sharp distinction between judgments of taste and judgments of the agreeable if only to dismiss judgments of the agreeable as worthy objects of study. Kant is primarily concerned with judgments of taste, the main example of which is judging something to be beautiful. He asserts that such judgments are subjective, universal, necessary, disinterested, and do not presuppose a purpose. The (...) other type of aesthetic judgment are judgments of the agreeable, “which are the kind of judgment expressed by saying simply that one likes something or finds it pleasing.” These are judgments of what, in Kant’s words, please “the senses in sensation” as opposed to pleasing ourcognition in reflection. (shrink)
The social world contains institutions, groups, objects, and more. This essay explores a puzzle about the essences of social items. There is widespread consensus against social essences because of problematic presuppositions often made about them. But it is argued that essence can be freed from these presuppositions and their problems. Even so, a puzzle still arises. In a Platonic spirit, essences in general seem detached from the world. In an Aristotelian spirit, social essences in particular seem embedded in the world. (...) The puzzle is that these inclinations are individually plausible but jointly incompatible. The essay has four aims: to clarify and refine the puzzle; to explore the puzzle's implications for essence in general and for social essences in particular; to illustrate the fruitfulness of the general distinction between detached and embedded; and to develop this distinction to sketch a novel solution to the puzzle. (shrink)
This paper explores the prospects of combining two views. The first view is metaphysical rationalism : all things have an explanation. The second view is metaphysical essentialism: there are real essences. The exploration is motivated by a conflict between the views. Metaphysical essentialism posits facts about essences. Metaphysical rationalism demands explanations for all facts. But facts about essences appear to resist explanation. I consider two solutions to the conflict. Exemption solutions attempt to exempt facts about essences from the demand for (...) explanation. Explanation solutions attempt to explain facts about essences. I argue that exemption solutions are less promising than explanation solutions. I then consider how explanation solutions might be developed. I suggest that a “generative” approach is most promising. I tentatively conclude that the prospects for combining metaphysical rationalism and metaphysical essentialism turn on the viability of a generative approach. This sets the agenda for defending the combination as well as the more general project of explaining essences. (shrink)
A collection of 37 essays surveying the state of the art on metaphysical ground. -/- Essay authors are: Fatema Amijee, Ricki Bliss, Amanda Bryant, Margaret Cameron, Phil Corkum, Fabrice Correia, Louis deRosset, Scott Dixon, Tom Donaldson, Nina Emery, Kit Fine, Martin Glazier, Kathrin Koslicki, David Mark Kovacs, Stephan Krämer, Stephanie Leary, Stephan Leuenberger, Jon Litland, Marko Malink, Michaela McSweeney, Kevin Mulligan, Alyssa Ney, Asya Passinsky, Francesca Poggiolesi, Kevin Richardson, Stefan Roski, Noel Saenz, Benjamin Schnieder, Erica Shumener, Alexander Skiles, Olla Solomyak, (...) Tuomas Tahko, Naomi Thompson, Kelly Trogdon, Jennifer Wang, Tobias Wilsch, and Justin Zylstra. (shrink)
Is logic out of this world? This elusive question reveals a tension in our thinking about the basis of logic: both worldly and unworldly answers get something right and yet they conflict. My aim is to clarify the question and explore a conciliatory answer. I focus on a characterization of unworldliness in terms of ground. This allows for a distinction between proximal and distal unworldliness. That in turn reconfigures our approach to the question. It may now be taken as asking (...) for the proximal or the distal basis of logic. This helps alleviate the tension because the answer for the one needn’t conflict with a different answer for the other. I explore a case study culminating in an illustration of how a logical truth may indeed be proximally worldly but distally unworldly. I conclude by considering some potential extensions. (shrink)
This paper raises a problem for the pair of views that universals are immanent in their instantiations and that these instantiations, or states of affairs, are somehow constructed from the instantiated universals. It is argued that the pair is inconsistent. The first view implies that universals are prior to states of affairs, whereas the second view implies that states of affairs are prior to universals. This paper does not attempt to solve this problem, but rather to formulate it precisely. That (...) promises to illuminate how to solve the problem if it can be solved, or why it cannot be solved if it is unsolvable. (shrink)