This co-edited volume compares Chinese and Western experiences of engineering, technology, and development. In doing so, it builds a bridge between the East and West and advances a dialogue in the philosophy of engineering. Divided into three parts, the book starts with studies on epistemological and ontological issues, with a special focus on engineering design, creativity, management, feasibility, and sustainability. Part II considers relationships between the history and philosophy of engineering, and includes a general argument for the necessity of dialogue (...) between history and philosophy. It continues with a general introduction to traditional Chinese attitudes toward engineering and technology, and philosophical case studies of the Chinese steel industry, railroads, and cybernetics in the Soviet Union. Part III focuses on engineering, ethics, and society, with chapters on engineering education and practice in China and the West. The book’s analyses of the interactions of science, engineering, ethics, politics, and policy in different societal contexts are of special interest. The volume as a whole marks a new stage in the emergence of the philosophy of engineering as a new regionalization of philosophy. This carefully edited interdisciplinary volume grew out of an international conference on the philosophy of engineering hosted by the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. It includes 30 contributions by leading philosophers, social scientists, and engineers from Australia, China, Europe, and the United States. (shrink)
In this timely and highly original merging of theory and practice, conflict photographer and critical theorist Rita Leistner applies Marshall McLuhan's semiotic theories of language, media, and technology to iPhone photographs taken during a military embed in Afghanistan. In a series of what Leistner calls iProbes—a portmanteau of iPhone and probe—Leistner reveals the face of war through the extensions of man. As digital photography becomes more ubiquitous, and as the phones we carry with us become more advanced, the process (...) of capturing images becomes more democratic and more spontaneous. Leistner's photos result from both access and impulse. Looking for Marshall McLuhan in Afghanistan will appeal anyone with an interest in the conflicts in the Middle East, the seminal communications theorist, or iPhone apps and photography. (shrink)
While I deeply appreciate the painstaking and often generous remarks in R.N. Berki’s review of my book Hegel’s Retreat From Eleusis, [OWL, September 1978], I should like to correct two of his misapprehensions. First, the point is not that I try to “steer a middle course between ‘antiquaries’ who relegate Hegel to history books and ‘renovators’ who believe that Hegel is directly relevant,” but between the former and those who warp Hegel out of context in support of their preferred vision (...) of social and political action and/or explanation. Second, I do not conclude negatively about “the contemporary value of Hegel’s doctrine of the state;” If I had, the book would scarcely have been worth writing. It is simply that, in line with the first point, I counsel caution and salutary “archaeological” reflection. Current reality is messy: Hegel guides us and teaches us, but he furnishes no coup de foudre for solving our institutional problems. If this is irresolute, so be it. Does Mr. Berki propose bringing back monarchy, estates, and early 19th century municipal life? My own position is stated on pp. 109, 142–144, 183, 222–223. Although this may be, in Hayden White’s language, a Rankean trope, my option is surely not for “the historical dustbin.”. (shrink)
Resemblances obtain not only between objects but between properties. Resemblances of the latter sort - in particular resemblances between quantitative properties - prove to be the downfall of a well-known theory of universals, namely the one presented by David Armstrong. This paper examines Armstrong's efforts to account for such resemblances within the framework of his theory and also explores several extensions of that theory. All of them fail.
In his last book, David Armstrong sets out his metaphysical system in a set of concise and lively chapters each dealing with one aspect of the world. He begins with the assumption that all that exists is the physical world of space-time. On this foundation he constructs a coherent metaphysical scheme that gives plausible answers to many of the great problems of metaphysics. He gives accounts of properties, relations, and particulars; laws of nature; modality; abstract objects such as numbers; (...) and time and mind. (shrink)
Abstract: In chapter 15 of A Materialist Theory of the Mind, D.M.Armstrong offers an account of what he calls “the biological value of introspection”, namely, that “without information…about the current state of our minds, purposive trains mental activity would be impossible.” This paper examines and assesses Armstrong’s “Just-so story about introspective consciousness”—as W.G.Lycan later called it. One moral will be that appreciating this aspect of Armstrong’s view blurs the difference between his own perceptual model of introspection, and (...) the anti-perceptual models advanced by such critics as Sydney Shoemaker . (shrink)
All contentious moral issues--from gay marriage to abortion and affirmative action--raise difficult questions about the justification of moral beliefs. How can we be justified in holding on to our own moral beliefs while recognizing that other intelligent people feel quite differently and that many moral beliefs are distorted by self-interest and by corrupt cultures? Even when almost everyone agrees--e.g. that experimental surgery without consent is immoral--can we know that such beliefs are true? If so, how? These profound questions lead to (...) fundamental issues about the nature of morality, language, metaphysics, justification, and knowledge. They also have tremendous practical importance in handling controversial moral questions in health care ethics, politics, law, and education. Sinnott-Armstrong here provides an extensive overview of these difficult subjects, looking at a wide variety of questions, including: Are any moral beliefs true? Are any justified? What is justified belief? The second half of the book explores various moral theories that have grappled with these issues, such as naturalism, normativism, intuitionism, and coherentism, all of which are attempts to answer moral skepticism. Sinnott-Armstrong argues that all these approaches fail to rule out moral nihilism--the view that nothing is really morally wrong or right, bad or good. Then he develops his own novel theory,--"moderate Pyrrhonian moral skepticism"--which concludes that some moral beliefs can be justified out of a modest contrast class but no moral beliefs can be justified out of an extreme contrast class. While explaining this original position and criticizing alternatives, Sinnott-Armstrong provides a wide-ranging survey of the epistemology of moral beliefs. (shrink)
When is it permissible to move an issue out of normal politics and treat it as a security issue? How should the security measures be conducted? When and how should the securitization be reversed? Floyd offers answers to these questions by combining security studies' influential securitization theory with philosophy's long-standing just war tradition, creating a major new approach to the ethics of security: 'Just Securitization Theory'. Of interest to anyone concerned with ethics and security, Floyd's innovative approach enables scholars to (...) normatively evaluate past and present securitizations, equips practitioners to make informed judgements on what they ought to do in relevant situations, and empowers the public to hold relevant actors accountable for how they view security. (shrink)
The purpose of this study was to illuminate the ethically difficult situations experienced by care providers working in a nursing home. Individual interviews using a narrative approach were conducted. A phenomenological-hermeneutic method developed for researching life experience was applied in the analysis. The findings showed that care providers experience ethical challenges in their everyday work. The informants in this study found the balance between the ideal, autonomy and dignity to be a daily problem. They defined the culture they work in (...) as not supportive. They also thought they were not being seen and heard in situations where they disagree with the basic values of the organization. The results are discussed in terms of Habermas’s understanding of modern society. Care settings for elderly people obviously present ethical challenges, particularly in the case of those suffering from dementia. The care provider participants in this study expressed frustration and feelings of powerlessness. It is possible to understand their experiences in terms of Habermas’s theory of modern society and the concept of the system’s colonization of the life world. (shrink)
D. M. Armstrong has objected that the Dispositionalist theory of laws and properties is modally inverted, for it entails that properties are constituted by relations to non-actual possibilia. I contend that, if this objection succeeds against Dispositionalism, then Armstrong's nomic necessitation relation is also modally inverted. This shows that at least one of Armstrong's reasons for preferring a nomic necessitation theory is specious.
Truthmakers have come to play a central role in David Armstrong's metaphysics. They are the things that stand in the relation of truthmaking to truthbearers. This chapter focuses on the relation. More specifically, it discusses a thesis Armstrong holds about truthmaking that is of special importance to him; namely, the thesis that truthmaking is an internal relation. It explores what work this thesis is supposed to do for Armstrong, especially for this doctrine of the ontological free lunch, (...) raising questions and pointing out difficulties along the way. At the end of the chapter, it is shown that Armstrong's preferred truthbearers generate a serious difficulty for his thesis that the truthmaking relation is internal. (shrink)
Many philosophers have declared that everything which exists is a particular. There is a weak interpretation of this doctrine which I believe to be a true proposition, and a strong one which I believe to be false.
The title of this paper reflects the fact truthmaking is quite frequently considered to be expressive of realism. What this means, exactly, will become clearer in the course of our discussion, but since we are interested in Armstrong’s work on truthmaking in particular, it is natural to start from a brief discussion of how truthmaking and realism appear to be associated in his work. In this paper, special attention is given to the supposed link between truthmaking and realism, but (...) it is argued that this link should not be taken too seriously, as truthmaking turns out to be, to a large extent, ontologically neutral. Some consequences of this are studied. (shrink)
David Armstrong is one of Australia's greatest philosophers. His chief philosophical achievement has been the development of a core metaphysical programme, embracing the topics of universals, laws, modality and facts. This book offers an introduction to the full range of Armstrong's thought. It begins with a discussion of Armstong's naturalism.
D. M. Armstrong famously claims that deterministic laws of nature are contingent relations between universals and that his account can also be straightforwardly extended to irreducibly probabilistic laws of nature. For the most part, philosophers have neglected to scrutinize Armstrong’s account of probabilistic laws. This is surprising precisely because his own claims about probabilistic laws make it unclear just what he takes them to be. We offer three interpretations of what Armstrong-style probabilistic laws are, and argue that (...) all three interpretations are incompatible either with some feature of Armstrong’s broader metaphysics or with essential features of his account of laws (or both). (shrink)
There cannot be a reductive theory of modality constructed from the concepts of sparse particular and sparse universal. These concepts are suffused with modal notions. I seek to establish this conclusion by tracing out the pattern of modal entanglements in which these concepts are involved. In order to appreciate the structure of these entanglements a distinction must be drawn between the lower-order necessary connections in which particulars and universals apparently figure, and higher-order necesary connections. The former type of connection relates (...) specific entities. By contrast, the latter type of connection is unspecific: it relates entities to some others. I argue that whilst there may be techniques that succeed in providing reductive truth conditions for sentences that say particulars and universals figure in lower-order necessary connections, such techniques cannot succeed in providing reductive truth conditions for sentences that say these entities figure in higher-order necessary connections. I conclude that this situation leaves reductionists with a dilemma. If they wish to affirm that there are particulars and universals then the project of reducing modality by positing these entities must be abandoned. Alternatively, they may continue to deploy their usual reductive techniques but then they must abandon the doctrine that there is more than one fundamental category of entity. (shrink)
Anthropology combines two quite different enterprises: the ethnographic study of particular people in particular places and the theorizing about the human species. As such, anthropology is part of cognitive science in that it contributes to the unitary theoretical aim of understanding and explaining the behavior of the animal species Homo sapiens. This article draws on our own research experience to illustrate that cooperation between anthropology and the other sub-disciplines of cognitive science is possible and fruitful, but it must proceed from (...) the recognition of anthropology’s unique epistemology and methodology. (shrink)
Illness creates a range of negative emotions in patients including anxiety, fear, powerlessness, and vulnerability. There is much debate on the ‘therapeutic’ or ‘helping’ nurse–patient relationship. However, despite the current agenda regarding patient-centred care, the literature concerning the development of good interpersonal responses and the view that a satisfactory nursing ethics should focus on persons and character traits rather than actions, nursing ethics is dominated by the traditional obligation, act-centred theories such as consequentialism and deontology. I critically examine these theories (...) and the role of duty-based notions in both general ethics and nursing practice. Because of well-established flaws, I conclude that obligation-based moral theories are incomplete and inadequate for nursing practice. I examine the work of Hursthouse on virtue ethics’ action guidance and the v-rules. I argue that the moral virtues and a strong (action-guiding) version of virtue ethics provide a plausible and viable alternative for nursing practice. I develop an account of a virtue-based helping relationship and a virtue-based approach to nursing. The latter is characterized by three features: (1) exercising the moral virtues such as compassion; (2) using judgement; and (3) using moral wisdom, understood to include at least moral perception, moral sensitivity, and moral imagination. Merits and problems of the virtue-based approach are examined. I relate the work of MacIntyre to nursing and I conceive nursing as a practice: nurses who exercise the virtues and seek the internal goods help to sustain the practice of nursing and thus prevent the marginalization of the virtues. The strong practice-based version of virtue ethics proposed is context-dependent, particularist, and relational. Several areas for future philosophical inquiry and empirical nursing research are suggested to develop this account yet further. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the idea that under one way of understanding cheating, Armstrong did not fulfill any of the three necessary conditions: that cheating violates a rule—I will make the case that though doping was against the official rules, it was not against the rules the athletes used; that it is cheating if the intent is to obtain an unfair advantage—I will argue that dopers were not attempting to obtain an unfair advantage, at least on one plausible (...) understanding of fairness; and that cheating requires fair enforcement of the rules—I will show that the official rules against doping were hardly enforced at all, much less fairly enforced, and thus lacked enough sufficient normative force to deem breaking them cheating. (shrink)
A strong tradition in philosophy denies the possibility of moral dilemmas. Recently, several philosophers reversed this tradition. In this dissertation, I clarify some fundamental issues in this debate, argue for the possibility of moral dilemmas, and determine some implications of this possibility. ;In chapter I, I define moral dilemmas roughly as situations where an agent morally ought to adopt each of two alternatives but cannot adopt both. Moral dilemmas are resolvable if and only if one of the moral oughts overrides (...) the other. ;In chapter II, I criticize several opponents of moral dilemmas, including utilitarians, Kant, Aquinas, and Ross. My main criticism is that no opponent of moral dilemmas can adequately justify moral residue . ;Chapters III and IV concern the two main arguments against the possibility of moral dilemmas. First, the argument for 'ought' implies 'can' runs as follows. If the agent cannot adopt both, then it is not the case that the agent ought to adopt both. But the agent ought to adopt both, since the agent ought to adopt each . Thus, the defining judgements of a moral dilemma seem to imply a contradiction. In response, I argue that the relation between 'ought' and 'can' is not a logical implication but a conversational implicature. ;Chapter IV concerns the argument from 'ought' implies 'permitted': If the agent ought to adopt one alternative, then the agent is permitted to adopt that alternative, which means that it is not the case that the agent ought not to adopt that alternative. But the agent ought not to adopt that alternative, since the agent ought to adopt the other alternative and cannot adopt both. I respond that 'ought' does not logically imply but conversationally implicates 'permitted'. ;In chapter V, I argue that, despite recent claims, both moral realism and anti-realism are compatible with the possibility of moral dilemmas. Thus, there are several reasons to accept and no reasons to deny the possibility of moral dilemmas. (shrink)
Sinnott-Armstrong has attacked the epistemology of moral intuitionism on the grounds that it is not justified to have some moral beliefs without needing them to be inferred from other beliefs. He believes that our moral judgments are inferentially justified because the “framing effects” which are mostly discussed in the empirical psychology cast doubt on any non-inferential justification. In this paper, I argue that Sinnott-Armstrong’s argument is question begging against intuitionists and his description of epistemological intuitionism is a diluted (...) version that most of intuitionists do not believe, therefore he is not attacking the epistemological intuitionism in its strongest form. I then propose my alternative modest account of epistemological intuitionism. I also reconsider the concept of “non-inferentiality”, as one of the key elements of intuitionist epistemology, and propose a modest account of non-inferentiality. (shrink)
This book is one of the first wide-ranging academic surveys of the major types and categories of Hindu contemplative praxis. It explores diverse spiritual and religious practices within the Hindu traditions and Indic hermeneutical perspectives to understand the intricate culture of meditative communion and contemplation, devotion, spiritual formation, prayer, ritual, and worship. The volume extends and expands the conceptual reach of the fields of Contemplative Studies and Hindu Studies. The chapters in the volume cover themes in Hindu contemplative experience from (...) various texts and traditions including classical Sāṃkhya and Patañjali Yoga, the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, the role of Sādhana in Advaita Vedānta, Śrīvidyā and the Śrīcakra, the body in Tantra, the semiotics and illocution of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sādhana, mantra in Mīmāṃsā, Vaiṣṇava liturgy, as well as cross-cultural reflections and interreligious comparative contemplative praxis. The volume presents indigenous vocabulary and frameworks to examine categories and concerns particular to the Hindu contemplative traditions. It traces patterns that cut across Hindu traditions and systems and discusses contrasting methods of different theological/philosophical schools evincing a strong plurality in Hindu religious thought and practice. The volume provides intra-religious comparisons that reveal internal complexity, nuances, and a variety of contemplative states and transformative practices that exist under the rubric of Hindu practices of interiority and reflection. With key insights on forms and functions of the contemplative experience along with their theologies and philosophies, the volume suggests new hermeneutical directions that will advance the field of contemplative studies. This book will be useful to scholars and researchers of religious and theological studies, contemplative studies, Hindu studies, consciousness studies, yoga studies, Indian philosophy and religion, sociology of religion, philosophy of religion, comparative religion, and South Asian studies, as well as general readers interested in the topic. (shrink)
The question of David Armstrong's recent book, What Is a Law of Nature? would seem to have little point unless there really are laws of nature. However that may be, so much philosoFhical thinking has utilized this concept, that an inquiry of this sort was needed whether there are or not. The book begins with a devastating attack on so-called Regularity views of law, and then proceeds with an exposition of Armstrong's own answer to the question. I wish (...) to raise here some difficulties for Armstrong's answer, concentrating on his account of probabilistic laws where I see the severest problems. To locate myself with respect to his approach, however, I shall first enter some lesser demurrals. (shrink)
Provocatively, David Armstrong's properties are supposed to be both universals and spatio-temporal. What does this amount to? I consider four of Armstrong's views, in order of ascending plausibility: (1) the exemplification account, on which universals are exemplified by space-times; (2) the location account, on which universals are located at space-times; (3) the first constituent account, on which spatio-temporal relations are elements of what I call the form of time; and, the true view, (4) the second constituent account, on (...) which universals are spatio-temporal only 'derivatively' by being constituents of states of affairs which are so 'primarily'. The first two accounts are rejected because they entail that space-times must be substantival. In making plausible the second constituent account, I distinguish primitive and derivative spatio-temporality. Something is primitively spatio-temporal when it is at a space-time, or stands in spatio-temporal relations. Something is derivatively spatio-temporal when it is a constituent of something primitively spatio-temporal. (shrink)
I show that Armstrong’s view of laws as second-order contingent relations of ‘necessitation’ among categorical properties faces a dilemma. The necessitation relation confers a relation of extensional inclusion (‘constant conjunction’) on its relata. It does so either necessarily or contingently. If necessarily, it is not a categorical relation (in the relevant sense). If contingently, then an explanation is required of how it confers extensional inclusion. That explanation will need to appeal to a third-order relation between necessitation and extensional inclusion. (...) The same dilemma reappears at this level. Either Armstrong must concede that some properties are not categorical but have essential powers – or he is faced with a regress. (shrink)
Analytic particularism claims that judgments of moral wrongness are about particular acts rather than general principles. Metaphysical particularism claims that what makes true moral judgments true is not general principles but nonmoral properties of particular acts. Epistemological particularism claims that studying particular acts apart from general principles can justify beliefs in moral judgments. Methodological particularism claims that we will do better morally in everyday life if we look carefully at each particular decision as it arises and give up the search (...) for a complete moral theory. This paper raises problems for each of these versions of particularism. (shrink)
The doctor patient relationship starts with a story. Doctors' notes, a patient's chart, the recommendations of ethics committees and insurance justifications all hinge on written and verbal narrative interaction. The "practice" of narrative profoundly affects decision making, patient health and treatment and the everyday practice of medicine. In this edited collection, the contributors provide conceptual foundations, practical guidelines and theoretical considerations central to the practice of narrative ethics.