An important work in the debate between materialists and dualists, the public correspondence between Anthony Collins and Samuel Clarke provided the framework for arguments over consciousness and personal identity in eighteenth-century Britain. In Clarke's view, mind and consciousness are so unified that they cannot be compounded into wholes or divided into parts, so mind and consciousness must be distinct from matter. Collins, by contrast, was a perceptive advocate of a materialist account of mind, who defended the possibility that thinking (...) and consciousness are emergent properties of the brain. Appendices include philosophical writings that influenced, and responded to, the correspondence. (shrink)
This work presents the basic arguments and fundamental themes of the political and moral thought of the seventeenth-century philosopher, Samuel Pufendorf--one of the most widely read natural lawyers of the pre-Kantian era. Selections from the texts of Pufendorf's two major works, Elements of Universal Jurisprudence and The Law of Nature and of Nations, have been brought together to make Pufendorf's moral and political thought more accessible. The selections included have received a new English translation, the first for both works (...) in roughly sixty years. The editor, a political scientist, and the translator, a philosopher, have developed a volume that is comprehensive and representative of Pufendorf's thought without being repetitive, fragmented, or obscure. (shrink)
This article seeks to demonstrate the influence of J. G. Fichte's philosophy on Søren Kierkegaard's theory of the self as he develops it in The Sickness unto Death and to interpret his theory of the self as a religious critique of autonomy. Following Michelle Kosch, it argues that Kierkegaard's theory of the self was developed in part as a critique of idealist conceptions of agency. Moreover, Kierkegaard's view of agency provides a powerful way of understanding human freedom and finitude that (...) has implications for contemporary debates about autonomy, normativity, and agency. (shrink)
Samuel Kerstein’s recent (2013) How To Treat Persons is an ambitious attempt to develop a new, broadly Kantian account of what it is to treat others as mere means and what it means to act in accordance with others’ dignity. His project is explicitly nonfoundationalist: his interpretation stands or falls on its ability to accommodate our pretheoretic intuitions, and he does an admirable job of handling carefully a range of well fleshed out and sometimes subtle examples. In what follows, (...) I shall give a quick summary of the chapters and then say two good things about the book and one critical thing. (shrink)
This paper rereads David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion as dramatising a distinctive, naturalistic account of toleration. I have two purposes in mind: first, to complete and ground Hume's fragmentary explicit discussion of toleration; second, to unearth a potentially attractive alternative to more recent, Rawlsian approaches to toleration. To make my case, I connect Dialogues and the problem of toleration to the wider themes of naturalism, scepticism and their relation in Hume's thought, before developing a new interpretation of Dialogues part (...) 12 as political drama. Finally, I develop the Humean theory of toleration I have discovered by comparison between Rawls's and Hume's strategies for justification of a tolerant political regime. (shrink)
The main object of criticism of present-day medical ethics is the standard view of the relationship between theory and practice. Medical ethics is more than the application of moral theories and principles, and health care is more than the domain of application of moral theories. Moral theories and principles are necessarily abstract, and therefore fail to take account of the sometimes idiosyncratic reality of clinical work and the actual experiences of practitioners. Suggestions to remedy the illnesses of contemporary medical ethics (...) focus on re-establishing the connection between the internal and external morality of medicine. This article discusses the question how to develop a theoretical perspective on medical ethical issues that connects philosophical reflection with the everyday realities of medical practice. Four steps in a comprehensive approach of medical ethics research are distinguished: (1) examine health care contexts in order to obtain a better understanding of the internal morality of these practices; this requires empirical research; (2) analyze and interpret the external morality governing health care practices; sociological study of prevalent values, norms, and attitudes concerning medical-ethical issues is required; (3) creation of new theoretical perspectives on health care practices; Jensen's theory of healthcare practices will be useful here; (4) develop a new conception of bioethics that illuminates and clarifies the complex interaction between the internal and external morality of health care practices. Hermeneutical ethics can be helpful for integrating the experiences disclosed in the empirical ethical studies, as well as utilizing the insights gained from describing the value-contexts of health care practices. For a critical and normative perspective, hermeneutical ethics has to examine and explain the moral experiences uncovered, in order to understand what they tell us. (shrink)
In this superb introduction, Samuel Freeman introduces and assesses the main topics of Rawls' philosophy. Starting with a brief biography and charting the influences on Rawls' early thinking, he goes on to discuss the heart of Rawls's philosophy: his principles of justice and their practical application to society. Subsequent chapters discuss Rawls's theories of liberty, political and economic justice, democratic institutions, goodness as rationality, moral psychology, political liberalism, and international justice and a concluding chapter considers Rawls' legacy. Clearly setting (...) out the ideas in Rawls' masterwork, _A Theory of Justice_, Samuel Freeman also considers Rawls' other key works, including _Political Liberalism_ and _The Law of Peoples_. An invaluable introduction to this deeply influential philosopher, _Rawls_ is essential reading for anyone coming to his work for the first time. (shrink)
Samuel Newlands presents a sweeping new interpretation of Spinoza's metaphysical system and the way in which his metaphysics shapes, and is shaped by, his moral program. Engaging with contemporary metaphysics and ethics, Newlands reveals just how exciting and vibrant Spinoza's philosophical outlook remains for philosophers today.
Variabilism is the view that proper names (like pronouns) are semantically represented as variables. Referential names, like referential pronouns, are assigned their referents by a contextual variable assignment (Kaplan 1989). The reference parameter (like the world of evaluation) may also be shifted by operators in the representation language. Indeed verbs that create hyperintensional contexts, like ‘think’, are treated as operators that simultaneously shift the world and assignment parameters. By contrast, metaphysical modal operators shift the world of assessment only. Names, being (...) variables, refer rigidly in the latter merely intensional contexts, but may vary their reference in hyperintensional contexts. This conforms to the intuition that the content of attitude ascriptions encapsulates referential uncertainty. Furthermore, names in hyperintensional contexts are ambiguous between de re* and de dicto* interpretations. This fact is used to account for asymmetric mistaken identity attributions (for example, Biron thinks Katherine is Rosaline, but he doesn’t think Rosaline is Katherine). -/- The variable theory compares favourably with its alternatives, including Millianism and descriptivism. Millians cannot account for the behaviour of names in hyperintensional contexts, while descriptivists cannot generate a necessary contrast between intensional and hyperintensional contexts. No other theory can capture the facts pertaining to the existentially bound use of names. (shrink)
What are the features of a good scientific theory? Samuel Schindler's book revisits this classical question in the philosophy of science and develops new answers to it. Theoretical virtues matter not only for choosing theories 'to work with', but also for what we are justified in believing: only if the theories we possess are good ones can we be confident that our theories' claims about nature are actually correct. Recent debates have focussed rather narrowly on a theory's capacity to (...) predict new phenomena successfully, but Schindler argues that the justification for this focus is thin. He discusses several other theory properties such as testability, accuracy, and consistency, and highlights the importance of simplicity and coherence. Using detailed historical case studies and careful philosophical analysis, Schindler challenges the received view of theoretical virtues and advances arguments for the view that science uncovers reality through theory. (shrink)
Samuels and Stich explore the debate over the extent to which ordinary human reasoning and decision making is rational. One prominent cluster of views, often associated with the heuristics and biases tradition in psychology, maintains that human reasoning is, in important respects, normatively problematic or irrational. Samuels and Stich start by sketching some key experimental findings from this tradition and describe a range of pessimistic claims about the rationality of ordinary people that these and related findings are sometimes taken to (...) support. Such pessimistic interpretations of the experimental findings have not gone unchallenged however: Samuels and Stich outline some of the research on reasoning that has been done by evolutionary psychologists and sketch a cluster of more optimistic theses about ordinary reasoning that such psychologists defend. Although Samuels and Stich think that the most dire pronouncements made by writers in the heuristics and biases tradition are unwarranted, they also maintain that the situation is rather more pessimistic than sometimes suggested by evolutionary psychologists. They conclude by defending this “middle way” and sketch a family of “dual processing” theories of reasoning which, they argue, offer some support for the moderate interpretation they advocate. (shrink)
Body and World is the definitive edition of a book that shouldnow take its place as a major contribution to contemporary existentialphenomenology. Samuel Todes goes beyond Martin Heidegger and MauriceMerleau-Ponty in his description of how independent physical natureand experience are united in our bodily action. His account allows himto preserve the authority of experience while avoiding the tendencytoward idealism that threatens both Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty.Todes emphasizes the complex structure of the human body ;front/back asymmetry, the need to balance in (...) a gravitational field, and so forth ;and the role that structure plays in producing the spatiotemporal field of experience and in making possible objective knowledge of the objects in it. He shows that perception involves nonconceptual, but nonetheless objective forms of judgment. One can think of Body and World as fleshing out Merleau-Ponty's project while presciently relating it to the current interest in embodiment, not only in philosophy but also in psychology, linguistics, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, and anthropology. Todes's work opens new ways of thinking about problems such as the relation of perception to thought and the possibility of knowing an independent reality ;problems that have occupied philosophers since Kant and still concern analytic and continental philosophy. (shrink)
"Adam Smith is widely regarded as the founder of political economy and one of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment period. Best-known for his founding work of economics, The Wealth of Nations, Smith's thought engaged equally with the nature of morality, above all in his Theory of Moral Sentiments. Smith's brilliance leaves us with an important question, however: Was he first and foremost a moral philosopher, who happened to turn to economics for part of his career? In this outstanding philosophical (...) introduction Samuel Fleischacker argues that Smith is a superb example of the broadly curious thinkers who flourished in the Enlightenment; one for whom morality, politics and economics were just a few of the many fascinating subjects that could be illuminated by naturalistic modes of investigation. After a helpful overview of his life and work, Fleischacker examines the full range of Smith's thought, including: epistemology, philosophy of science and aesthetics, moral sentimentalism, moral approval, sympathy, and judgement, the character of virtue advantages and disadvantages of Smith's moral philosophy, Smith's views on religion, justice and jurisprudence, governmental policy, economic principles, Smith's philosophical legacy and his place in the history of liberalism. Including chapter summaries, suggestions for further reading and a glossary, Adam Smith is essential reading for those studying ethics, political philosophy, the history of philosophy, and the Enlightenment, as well as those reading Smith in related disciplines such as economics, law and religion"--. (shrink)
Samuel Freeman was a student of the influential philosopher John Rawls, he has edited numerous books dedicated to Rawls' work and is arguably Rawls' foremost interpreter. This volume collects new and previously published articles by Freeman on Rawls. Among other things, Freeman places Rawls within historical context in the social contract tradition, and thoughtfully addresses criticisms of this position. Not only is Freeman a leading authority on Rawls, but he is an excellent thinker in his own right, and these (...) articles will be useful to a wide range of scholars interested in Rawls and the expanse of his influence. (shrink)
Though nativist hypotheses have played a pivotal role in the development of cognitive science, it remains exceedingly obscure how they—and the debates in which they ﬁgure—ought to be understood. The central aim of this paper is to provide an account which addresses this concern and in so doing: a) makes sense of the roles that nativist theorizing plays in cognitive science and, moreover, b), explains why it really matters to the contemporary study of cognition. I conclude by outlining a range (...) of further implications of this account for current debate in cognitive science. (shrink)
First published Sat Apr 5, 2003; most recent substantive revision Wed Aug 22, 2018. -/- Samuel Clarke (1675–1729) was the most influential British philosopher in the generation between Locke and Berkeley. His philosophical interests were mostly in metaphysics, theology, and ethics.
My primary target in this paper is a puzzle that emerges from the conjunction of several seemingly innocent assumptions in action theory and the metaphysics of moral responsibility. The puzzle I have in mind is this. On one widely held account of moral responsibility, an agent is morally responsible only for those actions or outcomes over which that agent exercises control. Recently, however, some have cited cases where agents appear to be morally responsible without exercising any control. This leads some (...) to abandon the control-based account of responsibility and replace it with an alternative account. It leads others to deny the intuition that agents are responsible in these troublesome cases. After outlining the account of moral responsibility I have in mind, I look at some of the arguments made against the viability of this theory. I show that there are conceptual resources for salvaging the control account, focusing in particular on the nature of vigilance. I also argue that there is empirical data that supports the control account so conceived. (shrink)
It can be shown by means of a paradox that, given the Principle of Sufficient Reason, there is no conjunction of all contingent truths. The question is, or ought to be, how to interpret that result: _Quid sibi velit?_ A celebrated argument against PSR due to Peter van Inwagen and Jonathan Bennett in effect interprets the result to mean that PSR entails that there are no contingent truths. But reflection on parallels in philosophy of mathematics shows it can equally be (...) interpreted either as a proof that there are "too many" contingent truths to combine in a single conjunction or as a proof that the concept _contingent truth_ is indefinitely extensible and there is no such thing as "all contingent truths." Either interpretation would reconcile PSR with contingent truth, but the natural rationales of those interpretations are at odds. This essay argues that the second interpretation is a more satisfactory explanation of why, if PSR is true, there should be no conjunction of all contingent truths. This sheds new light on the nature of the explanatory demand embedded in PSR and uncovers a number of surprising implications for the commitments of rationalism. (shrink)
The processes underwriting the acquisition of culture remain unclear. How are shared habits, norms, and expectations learned and maintained with precision and reliability across large-scale sociocultural ensembles? Is there a unifying account of the mechanisms involved in the acquisition of culture? Notions such as “shared expectations,” the “selective patterning of attention and behaviour,” “cultural evolution,” “cultural inheritance,” and “implicit learning” are the main candidates to underpin a unifying account of cognition and the acquisition of culture; however, their interactions require greater (...) specification and clarification. In this article, we integrate these candidates using the variational approach to human cognition and culture in theoretical neuroscience. We describe the construction by humans of social niches that afford epistemic resources called cultural affordances. We argue that human agents learn the shared habits, norms, and expectations of their culture through immersive participation in patterned cultural practices that selectively pattern attention and behaviour. We call this process “thinking through other minds” – in effect, the process of inferring other agents’ expectations about the world and how to behave in social context. We argue that for humans, information from and about other people's expectations constitutes the primary domain of statistical regularities that humans leverage to predict and organize behaviour. The integrative model we offer has implications that can advance theories of cognition, enculturation, adaptation, and psychopathology. Crucially, this formal treatment seeks to resolve key debates in current cognitive science, such as the distinction between internalist and externalist accounts of theory of mind abilities and the more fundamental distinction between dynamical and representational accounts of enactivism. (shrink)
Samuel J. Kerstein develops a new, broadly Kantian account of the ethical issues that arise when a person treats another merely as a means. He explores how Kantian principles on the dignity of persons shed light on pressing issues in modern bioethics, including the distribution of scarce medical resources and the regulation of markets in organs.
The global pessimistic meta-induction argues from the falsity of scientific theories accepted in the past to the likely falsity of currently accepted scientific theories. I contend that this argument commits a statistical error previously unmentioned in the literature and is self-undermining. I then compare the global pessimistic meta-induction to a local pessimistic meta-induction based on recent negative assessments of the reliability of medical research. If there is any future in drawing pessimistic conclusions from the history of science, it lies in (...) local meta-inductions, but these meta-inductions will not result in global distrust of the results of science. (shrink)
Samuel Alexander was one of the first realists of the twentieth century to defend a theory of categories. He thought that the categories are genuinely real and grounded in the intrinsic nature of Space-Time. I present his reduction of the categories in terms of Space-Time, articulate his account of categorial structure and completeness, and offer an interpretation of what he thought the nature of the categories really were. I then argue that his theory of categories has some advantages over (...) competing theories of his day, and finally draw some important lessons that we can learn from his realist yet reductionist theory of categories. (shrink)
Cognitive science has recently made some startling discoveries about temporal experience, and these discoveries have been drafted into philosophical service. We survey recent appeals to cognitive science in the philosophical debate over whether time objectively passes. Since this research is currently in its infancy, we identify some directions for future research.
Stephen Hawking, among others, has proposed that the topological stability of a property of space-time is a necessary condition for it to be physically significant. What counts as stable, however, depends crucially on the choice of topology. Some physicists have thus suggested that one should find a canonical topology, a single ‘right’ topology for every inquiry. While certain such choices might be initially motivated, some little-discussed examples of Robert Geroch and some propositions of my own show that the main candidates—and (...) each possible choice, to some extent—faces the horns of a no-go result. I suggest that instead of trying to decide what the ‘right’ topology is for all problems, one should let the details of particular types of problems guide the choice of an appropriate topology. (shrink)
Objects of Metaphor puts forward a philosophical account of metaphor radically different from those currently on offer. Powerful and flexible enough to cope with the syntactic complexity typical of genuine metaphor, it offers novel conceptions of the relationship between simile and metaphor, the notion of dead metaphor, and the idea of metaphor as a robust theoretic kind. Without denying that metaphor can sometimes be merely ornamental, Guttenplan justifies the view of metaphor as fundamental to language and the study of language. (...) His book will be of great interest not only to philosophers in this field, but also to those working across psychology and linguistics. (shrink)
Why should we care what happens to future generations? Samuel Scheffler argues that we are more invested in the fate of our descendants than we may realize. Implicit in our own attachments are powerful reasons for wanting the chain of human generations to persist into the indefinite future under conditions conducive to human flourishing.
Samuel Clarke was by far the most gifted and influential Newtonian philosopher of his generation, and A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God, which constituted the 1704 Boyle Lectures, was one of the most important works of the first half of the eighteenth century, generating a great deal of controversy about the relation between space and God, the nature of divine necessary existence, the adequacy of the Cosmological Argument, agent causation, and the immateriality of the soul. Together (...) with the other texts presented in this edition, it also provides the best introduction to Clarke's philosophical views, which, in addition to their intrinsic interest, are historically important for the light they shed both on the philosophical positions within the Newtonian circle and on the exchange between Clarke and Leibniz, the most famous philosophical controversy of the eighteenth century. (shrink)
Samuel Alexander was one of the foremost philosophical figures of his day and has been argued by John Passmore to be one of ‘fathers’ of Australian philosophy as well as a novel kind of physicalist. Yet Alexander is now relatively neglected, his role in the genesis of Australian philosophy if far from widely accepted and the standard interpretation takes him to be an anti-physicalist. In this paper, I carefully examine these issues and show that Alexander has been badly, although (...) understandably, misjudged by most of his contemporary critics and interpreters. Most importantly, I show that Alexander offers an ingenious, and highly original, version of physicalism at the heart of which is a strikingly different view of the nature of the microphysical properties and associated view of emergent properties. My final conclusion will be that Passmore is correct in his claims both that Alexander is significant as one of the grandfather’s of Australian philosophy and that he provides a novel physicalist position. I will also suggest that Alexander’s emergentism is important for addressing the so-called ‘problem of mental causation’ presently dogging contemporary non-reductive physicalists. (shrink)
Samuel Pufendorf is one of the most important moral and political philosophers of the seventeenth century. His theory, which builds on Grotius and Hobbes, was immediately recognized as a classic and taken up by writers as diverse as Locke, Hume, Rousseau, and Smith. Over the past twenty years there has been a renaissance of Pufendorf scholarship. On the Duty of Man and Citizen is Pufendorf's own epitome of his monumental On the Law of Nature and of Nations, and it (...) served as a basic text in European universities throughout the Enlightenment. This edition has a lucid and historically sensitive translation by Michael Silverthorne, the first since the early twentieth century. James Tully's introduction sets the text in its context, summarizes the main arguments, surveys recent literature on Pufendorf, and shows how Pufendorf transformed natural law theory into an independent discipline of juristic political philosophy that dominated reflection on politics until Kant. (shrink)