Introduction : time, film, and the ethical vision of Emmanuel Levinas. American transcendence : Levinas and a short history of an American idea in film -- Frank Capra and James Stewart : time, transcendence, and the other -- The changing face of American redemption : Henry Fonda, Marilyn Monroe, Paul Newman, and Denzel Washington -- Sex, art, and Oedipus : The unbearable lightness of being -- Fellini and La dolce vita : documentary, decadence, and desire -- Antonioni and L'avventura : (...) transcendence, the body, and the feminine. (shrink)
This essay attempts to clarify the distinction between property and sovereignty, and to bring out the importance of that distinction to a liberal nationalism. Beginning with common intuitions about what distinguishes our rights to our possessions from the state's rightful governance over us, it proceeds to explore some historical sources of these intuitions, and the importance of a sharp distinction between ownership and governance to the rise of liberalism. From here, the essay moves into an exploration of group ownership, and (...) the ways in which group ownership can in practice turn into an illiberal kind of sovereignty The point is to shed new light on problems that nationalist states — states purporting to represent or foster a particular group identity — characteristically face. Examples of these problems, from the Israel/Palestine conflict, are put forth in the conclusion. (shrink)
Many philosophers have thought that our folk, or pre-reflective, view of persistence is one on which objects endure. This assumption not only plays a role in disputes about the nature of persistence itself, but is also put to use in several other areas of metaphysics, including debates about the nature of change and temporal passage. In this paper, we empirically test three broad claims. First, that most people (i.e. most non-philosophers) believe that, and it seems to them as though, objects (...) persist by enduring rather than perduring. Second, that most people have a view of change on which enduring but not perduring objects count as changing. Third, that one reason why the folk represent time as dynamical is because it seems to them, and they believe that, they endure through time. We found no evidence to support these claims. While there are certainly plenty of ‘folk’ endurantists in the population we tested, there are also plenty of ‘folk’ perdurantists. We did not find robust evidence that a majority of people believed that, or it seemed to them as though, objects endure rather than perdure. We conclude that many arguments in favour of endurantism that appeal to folk beliefs about, or experiences of, persisting objects and change rest on views about those beliefs and experiences that are empirically unsupported. There is no evidence to suggest that endurantism is the folk friendly view of persistence, and so we should stop treating it as such without argument. (shrink)
A BELIEF IN FREE WILL touches nearly everything that human beings value. It is difficult to think about law, politics, religion, public policy, intimate relationships, morality—as well as feelings of remorse or personal achievement—without first imagining that every person is the true source of his or her thoughts and actions. And yet the facts tell us that free will is an illusion. In this enlightening book, Sam Harris argues that this truth about the human mind does not undermine morality or (...) diminish the importance of social and political freedom, but it can and should change the way we think about some of the most important questions in life. (shrink)
Time is woven into the fabric of our lives. Everything we do, we do in and across time. It is not just that our lives are stretched out in time, from the moment of birth to the moment of our death. It is that our lives are stories. We make sense of ourselves, today, by understanding who we were yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that; by understanding what we did and why we did it. Our memories (...) shape our present selves, since we are the product of who we were, and who we remember being. Yet who we are lasts for but a moment. It is who we will be that demands attention. We are forever projecting ourselves into the future. We painstakingly plan for the needs of our future selves, all the while knowing that while what we do will make those future selves who they are, still, our future selves are elusive. So it is not simply that we happen to live our lives in time, the way, say, one might happen to live in Australia, or Singapore. It is hard to fathom how things could be otherwise. What would it be to live a life without time? Yet time itself is intangible. Though we are keenly aware of what has been ‒ of pain and loss, regret and pride ‒ and of what might be ‒ of anticipation, and dread, and longing ‒ time itself seems unaffected by anything we do. Though we can anticipate a future birthday cake, time itself cannot be tasted. Though we can dread a future dentist’s appointment, time itself cannot be touched. Though we remember the crunching of leaves this past autumn, time itself cannot be heard. How can it be that something so central to each of us, to who we are, and what we care about, can be so spectral? What, in the end, is time? Is time real, like a substance in which each of us, like insects in amber, finds ourselves trapped? Is time a dimension through which we can move? Is time not a thing at all, but some connection between events? If time is real, what is it like? Does it flow like a river, taking each of us prisoner in its current, washing us ever closer to the end of our lives? Is time like a cresting wave, coming ever closer to each of us from the future, engulfing us, and then receding into the past? Or is time static? Like a one-way road that each of us might wander, with no chance to turn back? Or perhaps time is like none of these things. Perhaps time is more like space; something we can navigate freely, so that we can visit different times just like we visit different places. Perhaps we can we travel in time the way we can travel in space. These questions, and many more, are the focus of this book. Now, you might wonder what philosophers are doing writing a book about time. Surely that’s a job for physicists! It is true: a great deal of what we know about time stems from our understanding of physics. However, even in physics we find that there are questions about time that go unanswered. Moreover, increasingly, physicists are turning to philosophers for help in understanding the role that time plays in current physical theories. Our goal is to get the reader up to speed on some of the central issues that influence our understanding of time so that they too may play a role in this ongoing discussion between science and philosophy. We hope that in doing so it will become clear what philosophy can bring to the study of time. There is a natural narrative in philosophy regarding the study of time, and we have chosen to organise this book according to that narrative. However, the book may also be approached in a ‘choose-your-own adventure’ spirit. While later chapters build on material introduced in earlier chapters, you can skip around, reading the book in any order you choose. For the instructor, this means that she can design her course around this book in any number of ways, depending on the particular topic she wishes to focus on. (shrink)
Why is philosophy important? What's so great about it? Leap into the world of philosophy and discover questions about life, the universe, and human behavior that great thinkers have pondered throughout history, and which are still being asked today.
Standard approaches to counterfactuals in the philosophy of explanation are geared toward causal explanation. We show how to extend the counterfactual theory of explanation to non-causal cases, involving extra-mathematical explanation: the explanation of physical facts by mathematical facts. Using a structural equation framework, we model impossible perturbations to mathematics and the resulting differences made to physical explananda in two important cases of extra-mathematical explanation. We address some objections to our approach.
Think of a number, any number, or properties like fragility and humanity. These and other abstract entities are radically different from concrete entities like electrons and elbows. While concrete entities are located in space and time, have causes and effects, and are known through empirical means, abstract entities like meanings and possibilities are remarkably different. They seem to be immutable and imperceptible and to exist "outside" of space and time. This book provides a comprehensive critical assessment of the problems raised (...) by abstract entities and the debates about existence, truth, and knowledge that surround them. It sets out the key issues that inform the metaphysical disagreement between platonists who accept abstract entities and nominalists who deny abstract entities exist. Beginning with the essentials of the platonist–nominalist debate, it explores the key arguments and issues informing the contemporary debate over abstract reality: arguments for platonism and their connections to semantics, science, and metaphysical explanation the abstract–concrete distinction and views about the nature of abstract reality epistemological puzzles surrounding our knowledge of mathematical entities and other abstract entities. arguments for nominalism premised upon concerns about paradox, parsimony, infinite regresses, underdetermination, and causal isolation nominalist options that seek to dispense with abstract entities. Including chapter summaries, annotated further reading, and a glossary, _Entities_ is essential reading for anyone seeking a clear and authoritative introduction to the problems raised by abstract entities. (shrink)
The curriculum design, faculty characteristics, and experience of implementing masters' level international research ethics training programs supported by the Fogarty International Center was investigated. Multiple pedagogical approaches were employed to adapt to the learning needs of the trainees. While no generally agreed set of core competencies exists for advanced research ethics training, more than 75% of the curricula examined included international issues in research ethics, responsible conduct of research, human rights, philosophical foundations of research ethics, and research regulation and ethical (...) review process. Common skills taught included critical thinking, research methodology and statistics, writing, and presentation proficiency. Curricula also addressed the cultural, social, and religious context of the trainees related to research ethics. Programs surveyed noted trainee interest in Western concepts of research ethics and the value of the transnational exchange of ideas. Similar faculty expertise profiles existed in all programs. Approximately 40% of faculty were female. Collaboration between faculty from low- and middleincome countries (LMICs) and high-income countries (HICs) occurred in most programs and at least 50% of HIC faculty had previous LMIC experience. This paper is part of a collection of papers analyzing the Fogarty International Research Ethics Education and Curriculum Development program. (shrink)
Frankel has argued that the theory of causality developed by Rom Harré and his colleague Edward Madden is incoherent, since the proposal that causal claims are naturally necessary leads to a vicious infinite regression“which ends by requiring that for any causal claim to be accorded the status of natural necessity an infinite number of causal claims must be accorded the status of natural necessities.”.
Indicative and subjunctive conditionals are in non-complimentary distribution: there are conversational contexts at which both are licensed (Stalnaker (1975), Karttunen & Peters (1979), von Fintel (1998)). This means we can ask an important, but under-explored, question: in contexts which license both, what relations hold between the two? -/- In this paper, I’ll argue for an initially surprising conclusion: when attention is restricted to the relevant contexts, indicatives and subjunctives are co-entailing. §1 introduces the indicative/subjunctive distinction, along with a discussion of (...) the relevant notion of entailment; §2 presents the main argument of the paper, and §3 considers some of the philosophical implications the argument in §2. Finally, §4 argues that we can reconcile the equivalence of indicatives and subjunctives with apparently conflicting judgments. (shrink)
Kant proclaimed that all theodicies must fail in ?On the Miscarriage of All Philosophical Trials in Theodicy?, but it is mysterious why he did so since he had developed a theodicy of his own during the critical period. In this paper, I offer an explanation of why Kant thought theodicies necessarily fail. In his theodicy, as well as in some of his works in ethics, Kant explained moral evil as resulting from unavoidable limitations in human beings. God could not create (...) finite beings without such limitations and so could not have created humans that were not prone to committing immoral acts. However, the work of Carl Christian Eberhard Schmid showed Kant that given his own beliefs about freedom and the nature of responsibility one could not account for moral evil in this way without tacitly denying that human beings were responsible for their actions. This result is significant not only because it explains an otherwise puzzling shift in Kant's philosophy of religion, but also because it shows that the theodicy essay provides powerful evidence that Kant's thinking about moral evil and freedom underwent fundamental shifts between early works such as the Groundwork and later works like the Religion within the Limits of Mere Reason. (shrink)
Joint actions often require agents to track others’ actions while planning and executing physically incongruent actions of their own. Previous research has indicated that this can lead to visuomotor interference effects when it occurs outside of joint action. How is this avoided or overcome in joint actions? We hypothesized that when joint action partners represent their actions as interrelated components of a plan to bring about a joint action goal, each partner’s movements need not be represented in relation to distinct, (...) incongruent proximal goals. Instead they can be represented in relation to a single proximal goal – especially if the movements are, or appear to be, mechanically linked to a more distal joint action goal. To test this, we implemented a paradigm in which participants produced finger movements that were either congruent or incongruent with those of a virtual partner, and either with or without a joint action goal (the joint flipping of a switch, which turned on two light bulbs). Our findings provide partial support for the hypothesis that visuomotor interference effects can be reduced when two physically incongruent actions are represented as mechanically interdependent contributions to a joint action goal. (shrink)