In Republic VII Plato has Socrates make a curious argument: dialectic as currently practiced causes lawlessness, and thus the practice of dialectic should be restricted to those of a certain age who have been properly trained and selected (537e-539e). I argue that the warning in Republic VII points to a disagreement between the views expressed by the character `Socrates' in the Republic, and the views expressed by the character `Socrates' in the Apology. I do so by showing that Republic's description (...) of the problem as well as Plato's prescriptions for solving it can only be understood under the assumption that `dialectic' in this passage refers to questioning or refutation in general, and as such must include Socratic practices within its scope. This disagreement represents a more general disagreement about the path to the good life and the role of philosophy in living life well, and raises questions concerning Plato's opinion of the trial of Socrates. (shrink)
We have been teaching gender issues and feminist theory for many years, and we know that there is certainly a diversity of views among women, and men, about what counts as feminist or as good for women. Some may see a competent woman running for V.P as inevitably a step forward for women's equality. But consider this.
Der protestantische Theologe Karl Girgensohn ist 1903 mit seinem frühen Werk über das Wesen der Religion an die Öffentlichkeit getreten, welches einen starken religionsphilosophischen Standpunkt zum Ausdruck bringt. Kernüberlegung ist hierbei eine kognitive Theorie des Religiösen, in der die Gottesidee zentral ist. Unter Berücksichtigung der Biographie Girgensohns geht der vorliegende Beitrag auf diese frühe Studie zum Wesen der Religion ein und skizziert den Übergang des Autors von einem philosophischen zu einem experimentell-introspektiven Ansatz der Religiositätsforschung, welcher dann zum Fundament für die (...) Dorpater religionspsychologische Schule wurde. Basierend auf Girgensohns frühem Werk werden abschließend Implikationen für die heutige empirische Theologie vorgeschlagen.The Protestant theologian Karl Girgensohn came to the public in 1903 with his early work on the nature of religion, which expresses a strong religious-philosophical standpoint. The core consideration here is a cognitive theory of the religious, in which the idea of God is central. Taking into account Girgensohn’s biography, the present contribution addresses this early study on the nature of religion and outlines the author’s transition from a philosophical to an experimental-introspective approach to religious research, which then became the foundation for the Dorpat School of the psychology of religion. Based on Girgensohn’s early work, implications for contemporary empirical theology are finally proposed. (shrink)
In a volume devoted to philosophy, religion and the spiritual life, I would like to focus the later part of my essay on a comparison of two Christian spiritual writings of the fourteenth century, the anonymous Cloud of Unknowing in the West, and the Triads of Gregory Palamas in the Byzantine East. Their examples, for reasons which I shall explain, seem to me rich with implications for some of our current philosophical and theological aporias on the nature of the self. (...) Let me explain my thesis in skeletal form at the outset, for it is a complex one, and has several facets. (shrink)
In this incisive study Sarah Broadie gives an argued account of the main topics of Aristotle's ethics: eudaimonia, virtue, voluntary agency, practical reason, akrasia, pleasure, and the ethical status of theoria. She explores the sense of "eudaimonia," probes Aristotle's division of the soul and its virtues, and traces the ambiguities in "voluntary." Fresh light is shed on his comparison of practical wisdom with other kinds of knowledge, and a realistic account is developed of Aristototelian deliberation. The concept of pleasure (...) as value-judgment is expounded, and the problem of akrasia is argued to be less of a problem to Aristotle than to his modern interpreters. Showing that the theoretic ideal of Nicomachean Ethics X is in step with the earlier emphasis on practice, as well as with the doctrine of the Eudemian Ethics, this work makes a major contribution towards the understanding of Aristotle's ethics. (shrink)
Traditional philosophical discussions of knowledge have focused on the epistemic status of full beliefs. In this book, Moss argues that in addition to full beliefs, credences can constitute knowledge. For instance, your .4 credence that it is raining outside can constitute knowledge, in just the same way that your full beliefs can. In addition, you can know that it might be raining, and that if it is raining then it is probably cloudy, where this knowledge is not knowledge of propositions, (...) but of probabilistic contents. -/- The notion of probabilistic content introduced in this book plays a central role not only in epistemology, but in the philosophy of mind and language as well. Just as tradition holds that you believe and assert propositions, you can believe and assert probabilistic contents. Accepting that we can believe, assert, and know probabilistic contents has significant consequences for many philosophical debates, including debates about the relationship between full belief and credence, the semantics of epistemic modals and conditionals, the contents of perceptual experience, peer disagreement, pragmatic encroachment, perceptual dogmatism, and transformative experience. In addition, accepting probabilistic knowledge can help us discredit negative evaluations of female speech, explain why merely statistical evidence is insufficient for legal proof, and identify epistemic norms violated by acts of racial profiling. Hence the central theses of this book not only help us better understand the nature of our own mental states, but also help us better understand the nature of our responsibilities to each other. (shrink)
In this unconventional article, Sarah Banet-Weiser, Rosalind Gill and Catherine Rottenberg conduct a three-way ‘conversation’ in which they all take turns outlining how they understand the relationship among postfeminism, popular feminism and neoliberal feminism. It begins with a short introduction, and then Ros, Sarah and Catherine each define the term they have become associated with. This is followed by another round in which they discuss the overlaps, similarities and disjunctures among the terms, and the article ends with how (...) each one understands the current mediated feminist landscape. (shrink)
This paper develops a precise understanding of the thesis of moral encroachment, which states that the epistemic status of an opinion can depend on its moral features. In addition, I raise objections to existing accounts of moral encroachment. For instance, many accounts fail to give sufficient attention to moral encroachment on credences. Also, many accounts focus on moral features that fail to support standard analogies between pragmatic and moral encroachment. Throughout the paper, I discuss racial profiling as a case study, (...) arguing that moral encroachment can help us identify one respect in which racial profiling is epistemically problematic. (shrink)
Generic generalizations such as ‘mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus’ or ‘sharks attack bathers’ are often accepted by speakers despite the fact that very few members of the kinds in question have the predicated property. Previous work suggests that such low-prevalence generalizations may be accepted when the properties in question are dangerous, harmful, or appalling. This paper argues that the study of such generic generalizations sheds light on a particular class of prejudiced social beliefs, and points to new ways in (...) which those beliefs might be undermined and combatted. (shrink)
This paper argues that just as full beliefs can constitute knowledge, so can properties of your credence distribution. The resulting notion of probabilistic knowledge helps us give a natural account of knowledge ascriptions embedding language of subjective uncertainty, and a simple diagnosis of probabilistic analogs of Gettier cases. Just like propositional knowledge, probabilistic knowledge is factive, safe, and sensitive. And it helps us build knowledge-based norms of action without accepting implausible semantic assumptions or endorsing the claim that knowledge is interest-relative.
Since Mill's seminal work On Liberty, philosophers and political theorists have accepted that we should respect the decisions of individual agents when those decisions affect no one other than themselves. Indeed, to respect autonomy is often understood to be the chief way to bear witness to the intrinsic value of persons. In this book, Sarah Conly rejects the idea of autonomy as inviolable. Drawing on sources from behavioural economics and social psychology, she argues that we are so often irrational (...) in making our decisions that our autonomous choices often undercut the achievement of our own goals. Thus in many cases it would advance our goals more effectively if government were to prevent us from acting in accordance with our decisions. Her argument challenges widely held views of moral agency, democratic values and the public/private distinction, and will interest readers in ethics, political philosophy, political theory and philosophy of law. (shrink)
This is a contribution to the symposium on Herman Cappelen’s book Fixing Language. Cappelen proposes a metasemantic framework—the “Austerity Framework”—within which to understand the general phenomenon of conceptual engineering. The proposed framework is austere in the sense that it makes no reference to concepts. Conceptual engineering is then given a “worldly” construal according to which conceptual engineering is a process that operates on the world. I argue, contra Cappelen, that an adequate theory of conceptual engineering must make reference to concepts. (...) This is because concepts are required to account for topic continuity, a phenomenon which lies at the heart of projects in conceptual engineering. I argue that Cappelen’s own account of topic continuity is inadequate as a result of the austerity of his metasemantic framework, and that his worldly construal of conceptual engineering is untenable. (shrink)
Words change meaning over time. Some meaning shift is accompanied by a corresponding change in subject matter; some meaning shift is not. In this paper I argue that an account of linguistic meaning can accommodate the first kind of case, but that a theory of concepts is required to accommodate the second. Where there is stability of subject matter through linguistic change, it is concepts that provide the stability. The stability provided by concepts allows for genuine disagreement and ameliorative change (...) in the context of conceptual engineering. (shrink)
This paper motivates and develops a novel semantics for several epistemic expressions, including possibility modals and indicative conditionals. The semantics I defend constitutes an alternative to standard truth conditional theories, as it assigns sets of probability spaces as sentential semantic values. I argue that what my theory lacks in conservatism is made up for by its strength. In particular, my semantics accounts for the distinctive behavior of nested epistemic modals, indicative conditionals embedded under probability operators, and instances of constructive dilemma (...) containing epistemic vocabulary. (shrink)
Case B. You tell me that eating meat is immoral. Although I believe that, left to my own devices, I would not think this, no matter how long I reflected, I adopt your attitude as my own. It is not that I believe that you are better informed about potentially relevant non-moral facts (e.g., about the conditions under which livestock is kept, or about the typical effects of eliminating meat from one’s diet). On the contrary, I know that I have (...) all of the non-moral information relevant to the issue that you have. (shrink)
Ducks lay eggs' is a true sentence, and `ducks are female' is a false one. Similarly, `mosquitoes carry the West Nile virus' is obviously true, whereas `mosquitoes don't carry the West Nile virus' is patently false. This is so despite the egg-laying ducks' being a subset of the female ones and despite the number of mosquitoes that don't carry the virus being ninety-nine times the number that do. Puzzling facts such as these have made generic sentences defy adequate semantic treatment. (...) However complex the truth conditions of generics appear to be, though, young children grasp generics more quickly and readily than seemingly simpler quantifiers such as `all' and `some'. I present an account of generics that not only illuminates the strange truth conditions of generics, but also explains how young children find them so comparatively easy to acquire. I then argue that generics give voice to our most cognitively primitive generalizations and that this hypothesis accounts for a variety of facts ranging from acquisition patterns to cross-linguistic data concerning the phonological articulation of operators. I go on to develop an account of the nature of these cognitively fundamental generalizations and argue that this account explains the strange truth-conditional behavior of generics. (shrink)
This paper discusses three potential varieties of update: updates to the common ground, structuring updates, and updates that introduce discourse referents. These different types of update are used to model different aspects of natural language phenomena. Not-at-issue information directly updates the common ground. The illocutionary mood of a sentence structures the context. Other updates introduce discourse referents of various types, including propositional discourse referents for at-issue information. Distinguishing these types of update allows a unified treatment of a broad range of (...) phenomena, including the grammatical evidentials found in Cheyenne (Algonquian) as well as English evidential parentheticals, appositives, and mood marking. An update semantics that can formalize all of these varieties of update is given, integrating the different kinds of semantic contributions into a single representation of meaning. (shrink)
This paper provides an externalist account of talk and thought that clearly distinguishes the two. It is argued that linguistic meanings and concepts track different phenomena and have different explanatory roles. The distinction, understood along the lines proposed, brings theoretical gains in a cluster of related areas. It provides an account of meaning change which accommodates the phenomenon of contested meanings and the possibility of substantive disagreement across theoretical divides, and it explains the nature and value of conceptual engineering in (...) a way that addresses recent prominent concerns. (shrink)
One of the main themes that has emerged from behavioral decision research during the past three decades is the view that people's preferences are often constructed in the process of elicitation. This idea is derived from studies demonstrating that normatively equivalent methods of elicitation (e.g., choice and pricing) give rise to systematically different responses. These preference reversals violate the principle of procedure invariance that is fundamental to all theories of rational choice. If different elicitation procedures produce different orderings of options, (...) how can preferences be defined and in what sense do they exist? This book shows not only the historical roots of preference construction but also the blossoming of the concept within psychology, law, marketing, philosophy, environmental policy, and economics. Decision making is now understood to be a highly contingent form of information processing, sensitive to task complexity, time pressure, response mode, framing, reference points, and other contextual factors. (shrink)
Existing discussions of legal proof address a host of apparently disparate questions: What does it take to prove a fact beyond a reasonable doubt? Why is the reasonable doubt standard notoriously elusive, sometimes considered by courts to be impossible to define? Can the standard of proof by a preponderance of the evidence be defined in terms of probability thresholds? Why is statistical evidence often insufficient to meet the burden of proof? -/- This paper defends an account of proof that addresses (...) each of these questions. Where existing theories take a piecemeal approach to these puzzles, my theory develops an insight that unifies them—namely, the thesis that legal proof requires knowledge. Although this thesis may seem radical at first, I answer several common objections to it, and I argue that it does better than several competing accounts when it comes to making sense of our intuitions about what legal proof requires. (shrink)
This chapter defines and defends time-slice epistemology, according to which there are no essentially diachronic norms of rationality. The chapter begins by distinguishing two notions of time-slice epistemology, and ends by defending time-slice theories of action under indeterminacy, i.e. theories about how you should act when the outcome of your decision depends on some indeterminate claim. In a recent chapter, J. Robert G. Williams defends a theory of action under indeterminacy which is subject to several objections. An alternative theory is (...) proposed in its place. The resulting discussion highlights a more general moral about action under indeterminacy, namely that time-slice theories are supported by strong analogies with ethical theories. In particular, our understanding of agents torn between interpretations of a decision situation should be guided by our theories of agents torn between incommensurable values. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that an adequate meta-semantic framework capable of accommodating the range of projects currently identified as projects in conceptual engineering must be sensitive to the fact that concepts (and hence projects relating to them) fall into distinct kinds. Concepts can vary, I will argue, with respect to their direction of determination, their modal range, and their temporal range. Acknowledging such variations yields a preliminary taxonomy of concepts and generates a meta-semantic framework that allows us both to (...) accommodate the full range of cases and to identify a proper subset of concepts for special ameliorative consideration. Ignoring such variations, in contrast, leads to a restricted meta-semantic framework that accommodates only a subset of the particular projects while generating implausible accounts of others. (shrink)
The Archival and Constructive views of memory offer contrasting characterizations of remembering and its relation to memory errors. I evaluate the descriptive adequacy of each by offering a close analysis of one of the most prominent experimental techniques by which memory errors are elicited—the Deese-Roediger-McDermott paradigm. Explaining the DRM effect requires appreciating it as a distinct form of memory error, which I refer to as misremembering. Misremembering is a memory error that relies on successful retention of the targeted event. It (...) differs from both successful remembering and from confabulation errors, where the representation produced is wholly inaccurate. As I show, neither the Archival nor the Constructive View can account for the DRM effect because they are insensitive to misremembering’s unique explanatory demands. Fortunately, the explanatory limitations of the Archival and Constructive Views are complementary. This suggests a way.. (shrink)
Confabulation is a symptom central to many psychiatric diagnoses and can be severely debilitating to those who exhibit the symptom. Theorists, scientists, and clinicians have an understandable interest in the nature of confabulation—pursuing ways to define, identify, treat, and perhaps even prevent this memory disorder. Appeals to confabulation as a clinical symptom rely on an account of memory’s function from which cases like the above can be contrasted. Accounting for confabulation is thus an important desideratum for any candidate theory of (...) memory. Many contemporary memory theorists now endorse Constructivism, where memory is understood as a capacity for constructing plausible representations of past events. Constructivism’s aim is to account for and normalize the prevalence of memory errors in everyday life. Errors are plausible constructions that, on a particular occasion have led to error. They are not, however, evidence of malfunction in the memory system. While Constructivism offers an uplifting repackaging of the memory errors to which we are all susceptible, it has troubling implications for appeals to confabulation in psychiatric diagnosis. By accommodating memory errors within our understanding of memory’s function, Constructivism runs the risk of being unable to explain how confabulation errors are evidence of malfunction. After reviewing the literature on confabulation and Constructivism, respectively, I identify the tension between them and explore how different versions of Constructivism may respond. The paper concludes with a proposal for distinguishing between kinds of false memory—specifically, between misremembering and confabulation—that may provide a route to their reconciliation. (shrink)
Recently, von Fintel (2001) and Gillies (2007) have argued that certain sequences of counterfactuals, namely reverse Sobel sequences, should motivate us to abandon standard truth conditional theories of counterfactuals for dynamic semantic theories. I argue that we can give a pragmatic account of our judgments about counterfactuals without giving up the standard semantics. In particular, I introduce a pragmatic principle governing assertability, and I use this principle to explain a variety of subtle data concerning reverse Sobel sequences.
The more interest philosophers take in memory, the less agreement there is that memory exists—or more precisely, that remembering is a distinct psychological kind or mental state. Concerns about memory’s distinctiveness are triggered by observations of its similarity to imagination. The ensuing debate is cast as one between discontinuism and continuism. The landscape of debate is set such that any extensive engagement with empirical research into episodic memory places one on the side of continuism. Discontinuists concerns are portrayed as almost (...) exclusively conceptual and a priori. As philosophers of memory become increasingly interested in memory science, this pushes continuism into an apparent lead. The aim of this paper is to challenge this characterization of the continuism debate—namely, that a naturalistic approach to the philosophy of mind and memory favors continuism. My response has two components. First, I argue for weakening the alignment between naturalism and continuism. Second, I defend a naturalistically oriented, empirically-informed discontinuism between memory and imagination. I do so by introducing seeming to remember, which I argue is distinct from other mental attitudes—most importantly, from imagining. (shrink)
Suppose some person 'A' sets out to accomplish a difficult, long-term goal such as writing a passable Ph.D. thesis. What should you believe about whether A will succeed? The default answer is that you should believe whatever the total accessible evidence concerning A's abilities, circumstances, capacity for self-discipline, and so forth supports. But could it be that what you should believe depends in part on the relationship you have with A? We argue that it does, in the case where A (...) is yourself. The capacity for "grit" involves a kind of epistemic resilience in the face of evidence suggesting that one might fail, and this makes it rational to respond to the relevant evidence differently when you are the agent in question. We then explore whether similar arguments extend to the case of "believing in" our significant others -- our friends, lovers, family members, colleagues, patients, and students. (shrink)
According to the Causal Theory of Memory, remembering a particular past event requires a causal connection between that event and its subsequent representation in memory, specifically, a connection sustained by a memory trace. The CTM is the default view of memory in contemporary philosophy, but debates persist over what the involved memory traces must be like. Martin and Deutscher argued that the CTM required memory traces to be structural analogues of past events. Bernecker and Michaelian, contemporary CTM proponents, reject structural (...) analogues in favor of memory traces as distributed patterns of event features. The proposals are understood as distinct accounts of how memory traces represent past events. But there are two distinct questions one could ask about a trace’s representational features. One might ask how memory traces, qua mental representations, have their semantic properties. Or, what makes memory traces, qua mental representations of memories, distinct from other mental representations. Proponents of the CTM, both past and present, have failed to keep these two questions distinct. The result is a serious but unnoticed problem for the CTM in its current form. Distributed memory traces are incompatible with the CTM. Such traces do not provide a way to track the causal history of individual memories, as the CTM requires. If memory traces are distributed patterns of event features, as Bernecker and Michaelian each claim, then the CTM cannot be right. (shrink)
How fragile is our knowledge of morality, compared to other kinds of knowledge? Does knowledge of the difference between right and wrong fundamentally differ from knowledge of other kinds? Sarah McGrath offers new answers to these questions as she explores the possibilities, sources and characteristic vulnerabilities of moral knowledge.
Many languages grammatically mark evidentiality, i.e., the source of information. In assertions, evidentials indicate the source of information of the speaker while in questions they indicate the expected source of information of the addressee. This dissertation examines the semantics and pragmatics of evidentiality and illocutionary mood, set within formal theories of meaning and discourse. The empirical focus is the evidential system of Cheyenne (Algonquian: Montana), which is analyzed based on several years of fieldwork by the author.
This paper defends an account of full belief, including an account of its relationship to credence. Along the way, I address several familiar and difficult questions about belief. Does fully believing a proposition require having maximal confidence in it? Are rational beliefs closed under entailment, or does the preface paradox show that rational agents can believe inconsistent propositions? Does whether you believe a proposition depend partly on your practical interests? My account of belief resolves the tension between conflicting answers to (...) these questions that have been defended in the literature. In addition, my account complements fruitful probabilistic theories of assertion and knowledge. (shrink)
Traditional procedures for rational updating fail when it comes to self-locating opinions, such as your credences about where you are and what time it is. This paper develops an updating procedure for rational agents with self-locating beliefs. In short, I argue that rational updating can be factored into two steps. The first step uses information you recall from your previous self to form a hypothetical credence distribution, and the second step changes this hypothetical distribution to reflect information you have genuinely (...) learned as time has passed. While the second step resembles traditional procedures of updating by conditionalization, the first is best understood by analogy to traditional models of how agents transmit self-locating opinions through ordinary interpersonal communication. (shrink)
This article asks whether being a child is, all things considered, good or bad for children. I defend a predicament view of childhood, which regards childhood as bad overall for children. I argue that four features of childhood make it regrettable: impaired capacity for practical reasoning, lack of an established practical identity, a need to be dominated, and profound and asymmetric vulnerability. I consider recent claims in the literature that childhood is good for children since it allows them to enjoy (...) special goods that aren't available in adulthood, or which are harder to access in adulthood. I raise some difficulties for these claims. Then I argue that whatever version of these views survives my criticism will not establish that childhood is overall good for children. This is because the goods of childhood aren't significant enough to outweigh the bad features associated with being a child. I conclude by suggesting that the badness of childhood for children means that we are likely to owe more to children than to adults. (shrink)
Recently many have argued that agents must sometimes have credences that are imprecise, represented by a set of probability measures. But opponents claim that fans of imprecise credences cannot provide a decision theory that protects agents who follow it from foregoing sure money. In particular, agents with imprecise credences appear doomed to act irrationally in diachronic cases, where they are called to make decisions at earlier and later times. I respond to this claim on behalf of imprecise credence fans. Once (...) we appreciate the complexity of our intuitions about rational decision making, we can see that diachronic cases are in fact evidence for the essential claims motivating imprecise credence models. I argue that our decision theory for imprecise agents should mirror our decision theory for agents in moral dilemmas, and I develop permissive norms that explain our intuitions about both sorts of agents. (shrink)
It is commonly assumed that when we assign different credences to a proposition, a perfect compromise between our opinions simply ‘splits the difference’ between our credences. I introduce and defend an alternative account, namely that a perfect compromise maximizes the average of the expected epistemic values that we each assign to alternative credences in the disputed proposition. I compare the compromise strategy I introduce with the traditional strategy of compromising by splitting the difference, and I argue that my strategy is (...) a reasonable characterization of epistemic compromise. (shrink)
Traditionally, discussions of moral participation – and in particular moral agency – have focused on fully formed human actors. There has been some interest in the development of morality in humans, as well as interest in cultural differences when it comes to moral practices, commitments, and actions. However, until relatively recently, there has been little focus on the possibility that nonhuman animals have any role to play in morality, save being the objects of moral concern. Moreover, when nonhuman cases are (...) considered as evidence of moral agency or subjecthood, there has been an anthropocentric tendency to focus on those behaviors that inform our attributions of moral agency to humans. For example, some argue that the ability to evaluate the principles upon which a moral norm is grounded is required for full moral agency. Certainly, if a moral agent must understand what makes an action right or wrong, then most nonhuman animals would not qualify (and perhaps some humans too). However, if we are to understand the evolution of moral psychology and moral practice, we need to turn our attention to the foundations of full moral agency. We must first pay attention to the more broadly normative practices of other animals. Here, we begin that project by considering evidence that great apes and cetaceans participate in normative practices. (shrink)
There is a puzzle about how to understand the conclusion of a successful instance of practical reasoning. Do the considerations adduced in reasoning rationalize the particular doing of an action, as Aristotle is sometimes interpreted as claiming? Or does reasoning conclude in the formation of an attitude – an intention, say – that has an action-type as its content? This paper attempts to clarify what is at stake in that debate and defends the latter view against some of its critics.
A compelling argument for the morality of limitations on procreation in lessening the harmful environmental effects of unchecked populationWe live in a world where a burgeoning global population has started to have a major and destructive environmental impact. The results, including climate change and the struggle for limited resources, appear to be inevitable aspects of a difficult future. Mandatory population control might be a possible last resort to combat this problem, but is also a potentially immoral and undesirable violation of (...) human rights. Since so many view procreation as an essential component of the right to personal happiness and autonomy, the dominant view remains that the government does not have the right to impose these restrictions on its own citizens, for the sake of future people who have yet to exist.Sarah Conly is first to make the contentious argument that not only is it wrong to have more than one child in the face of such concerns, we do not even retain the right to do so. In One Child, Conly argues that autonomy and personal rights are not unlimited, especially if one's body may cause harm to anyone, and that the government has a moral obligation to protect both current and future citizens. Conly gives readers a thought-provoking and accessible exposure to the problem of population growth and develops a credible view of what our moral obligations really are, to generations present and future. (shrink)
I argue that it can be morally permissible to coerce people into doing what is good for their own health. I discuss recent initiatives in New York City that are designed to take away certain unhealthy options from local citizens, and argue that this does not impose on them in unjustifiable ways. Good paternalistic measures are designed to promote people's long-term goals, and to prevent them from making short-term decisions that interfere with reaching those, and New York's attempts to ban (...) the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces and the use of trans fats fall within those parameters. Given our tendency to cognitive bias, we need help in making choices that truly instantiate our values. (shrink)
Clinical use of the term “confabulation” began as a reference to false memories in dementia patients. The term has remained in circulation since, which belies shifts in its definition and scope over time. “Confabulation” now describes a range of disorders, deficits, and anomalous behaviors. The increasingly wide and varied use of this term has prompted many to ask: what is confabulation? In recent years, many have offered answers to this question. As a general rule, recent accounts are accounts of broad (...) confabulation: attempts to unify the seemingly disparate features of all or most confabulatory phenomena under a shared set of characteristics or mechanisms. In this paper, I approach the question differently. I focus on a particular form of confabulation—mnemonic confabulation—so as to understand its distinctive features and the ways in which it does fit into accounts of broad confabulation. Understanding mnemonic confabulation is a project in the philosophy of memory; it plays an important role in guiding theories of remembering, as a form of error that must be distinguished from genuine remembering. Mnemonic confabulation, as I define it in Sect. 2, occurs when there is no relation between a person’s seeming to remember a particular event or experience and any event or experience from their past—either because there is no such event in their past or because any similarity to such an event is entirely coincidental. This account draws on my own theory of remembering, but shares many important points of consensus with other accounts of mnemonic confabulation, which I highlight in Sect. 3. In Sect. 4, I turn to accounts of broad confabulation—identifying three features such accounts have in common—and, for each, I argue that mnemonic confabulation lacks the requisite feature. As an error, mnemonic confabulation has more in common with perceptual hallucination than with the confabulatory phenomena included in standard accounts of broad confabulation. Recognizing that, despite the shared use of the term “confabulation” mnemonic confabulation and broad forms of confabulation are unrelated, is important for continued progress in debates about each. (shrink)