This guide accompanies the following article: Nikolaj Nottelmann, ‘Belief‐Desire Explanation’. Philosophy Compass Vol/Iss : 1–10. doi: 10.1111/j.1747‐9991.2011.00446.xAuthor’s Introduction“Belief‐desire explanation” is short‐hand for a type of action explanation that appeals to a set of the agent’s mental states consisting of 1. Her desire to ψ and 2. Her belief that, were she to φ, she would promote her ψ‐ing. Here, to ψ could be to eat an ice cream, and to φ could be to walk to the ice cream vendor. Adherents (...) of belief‐desire explanation, often labelled “Humeans”, standardly assume that appeals to such belief‐desire pairs sufficiently explain many human and animal actions, and also that all actions are explainable thus, at least in so far as they are guided by the agent’s intentions. Humeans take their lead from David Hume’s famous dictum that “Reason...is only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.” In its original context, this passage from the Treatise is naturally taken to convey the thesis that mental states subservient to epistemic rationality – such as beliefs – are never in themselves sufficient to motivate action. Thus, an appeal to an agent’s beliefs is never in itself sufficient to lay bare her motivations and explain her actions, but must be supplemented by an appeal to “passions” such as desires. Many philosophers, so‐called Anti‐Humeans, have sharply disagreed. Some have pointed to certain beliefs with alleged motivational force in isolation from desires, most commonly evaluative beliefs. Others have argued that belief‐desire psychology fails to cut up mental space in a way fruitful to action explanation. Instead, only appeals to other types of mental state will adequately explain many types of intentional action. The debate for and against Humeanism is a highly complex one, which is likely to persist along with any general interest in the theory of action explanation.Author RecommendsHume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature. 2nd ed. Edited and with an Analytical Index, by L. A. Selby‐Bigge. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978.Part III. Sect. III. of the Treatise is the classical source of the Humean view. Any in‐depth understanding of contemporary Humeanism must take it as its starting point.Stroud, Barry. Hume. London: Routledge, 1977.This is an excellent introductory text. Chap. VII treats on Humeanism and the key part of the Treatise listed above.Smith, Michael. ‘The Humean Theory of Motivation.’Mind 96.381 : 36–61.This is an authoritative modern account of Humeanism. Even if a bit imprecise in some regards, the text is lucidly written and nicely captures the structure of the debate over Humeanism.Schaefer‐Landau, Russ. Moral Realism. A Defence. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2003.Chapt. 5 contains another fine, more recent, introduction to Humeanism and the typical arguments for and against it. This introduction is particularly recommendable in virtue of its clarity and comprehensiveness.Ratcliffe, Matthew. Rethinking Commonsense Psychology. A Critique of Folk Psychology, Theory of Mind and Simulation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.This monograph treats on a very wide number of subjects pertaining to action explanation and harbours many highly controversial theses. Still, it is a refreshing eye‐opener re the immense complexity of the topic of action explanation and the great variety of such explanations in our folk practices. On my view Ratcliffe makes plausible the view that neither our folk practices nor our scientific practices single out a unique model of action explanation as the only appropriate one. Rather our practices of action explanation constitute a rather motley family. The consequence of this to the debates over Humeanism is obvious: The combatants must get clear on the exact models of action explanation within which they discuss the place of belief‐desire references instead of pretending to fight over action explanation in general.Gendler, Tamar Szabó. ‘Alief and Belief.’Journal of Philosophy 105 : 634–63.This paper, together with Gendler’s contemporary sister paper ‘Alief in Action ’, is an engaging proponent of the view that belief‐desire psychology and its associated practice of Human action explanations gets psychological reality radically wrong. Gendler presents a number of cases where, allegedly, relevant human actions are only explicable by appeal to a type of mental state, which Gendler dubs “alief”. Aliefs are neither beliefs nor desires; but share certain characteristics with both.Online MaterialsSample SyllabusWeek I: David Hume’s viewHume, Treatise, Part III. Sect III.Stroud: Hume, Chapt. VII.Week II: Modern HumeanismSmith, ‘The Humean Theory of Motivation’.Nottelmann, ‘Belief‐Desire Explanation’.Week III: Modern Humeanism continued: The Dialectics of the DebateSchaefer‐Landau, ‘Motivational Humeanism’.Week IV: Intention, Agency and CausationDavidson, Donald. ‘Actions, Reasons, and Causes’ & ‘Freedom to Act’, both in: Essays on Actions and Events. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1980.Week V: Modern Anti‐Humeanism, The Neo‐Kantian VersionScanlon, T. M. What we Owe to Each Other. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press, 1998, Chapt. 1. ‘Reasons’.Week VI: Modern Anti‐Humeanism, The Cognitive Science VersionGendler, Tamar Szabó. ‘Alief and Belief’, supplemented with excerpts of her ‘Alief in Action ’. Mind and Language 23.5 : 552–85.Focus Questions1 Which kinds of explanation do belief‐desire explanations belong to?2 In so far as belief‐desire explanations provide causal explanation of action, how are we to understand the causal nexus between belief‐desire pairs and successful agency?3 How are we to understand the notions of belief and desire as appealed to in belief‐desire explanations? Are they even conceptually distinct from the concept of a belief‐desire explanation of human action?4 May evaluative judgments such as moral judgments motivate and/or rationalize action in isolation from accompanying distinct co‐native states of the agent?5 Are certain types of intentional action better explained with sole reference to mental states different from belief as well as desire? (shrink)
On one standard reading, Plato's works contain at least two distinct views about the structure of the human soul. According to the first, there is a crucial unity to human psychology: there is a dominant faculty that is capable of controlling attention and behaviour in a way that not only produces right action, but also ‘silences’ inclinations to the contrary—at least in idealized circumstances. According to the second, the human soul contains multiple autonomous parts, and although one of them, reason, (...) normatively dominates the others, it may fail to do so descriptively: even in the face of full, explicit, well‐reasoned, conscious awareness of the truth of a claim, a person may continue to feel residual inclinations towards disavowed, inappropriate and misguided experiences and courses of action. In this paper, I will argue that even the second of these views does not fully capture the ways in which reflective commitment fails to guide human action. Whereas the traditional multi‐part soul view is well suited to explaining phenomena that involve a cognitive conflict between our reflective attitudes and our non‐reflective endorsements, it falls short when we turn to the full array of human patterns of response, because it neglects a further source of challenge to reason's rule, namely, the mediation of associative and heuristic processes. These processes introduce complications for which the simple faculty psychology view cannot adequately account. Because they produce challenges to reason's rule that are phenomenologically invisible, traditional strategies for self‐regulation cannot be straightforwardly applied to their management. (shrink)
Iddo Landau understands a meaningful life as a life containing a sufficient number of sufficiently valuable aspects. Do the world's and the human condition's imperfections threaten meaning, thus understood? Landau argues that we can have a sufficient number of sufficiently valuable parts of our lives, even if the world is imperfect and the human condition involves various different imperfections. In this review, we offer some constructive criticisms of Landau's discussion, and we also highlight some of the virtues (...) of his book. (shrink)
The problem of imaginative resistance holds interest for aestheticians, literary theorists, ethicists, philosophers of mind, and epistemologists. We present a somewhat opinionated overview of the philosophical discussion to date. We begin by introducing the phenomenon of imaginative resistance. We then review existing responses to the problem, giving special attention to recent research directions. Finally, we consider the philosophical significance that imaginative resistance has—or, at least, is alleged to have—for issues in moral psychology, theories of cognitive architecture, and modal epistemology.
Moral Realism is a systematic defence of the idea that there are objective moral standards. Russ Shafer-Landau argues that there are moral principles that are true independently of what anyone, anywhere, happens to think of them. His central thesis, as well as the many novel supporting arguments used to defend it, will spark much controversy among those concerned with the foundations of ethics.
Self-tracking devices point to a future in which individuals will be more involved in the management of their health and will generate data that will benefit clinical decision making and research. They have thus attracted enthusiasm from medical and public health professionals as key players in the move toward participatory and personalized healthcare. Critics, however, have begun to articulate a number of broader societal and ethical concerns regarding self-tracking, foregrounding their disciplining, and disempowering effects. This paper has two aims: first, (...) to analyze some of the key promises and concerns that inform this polarized debate. I argue that far from being solely about health outcomes, this debate is very much about fundamental values that are at stake in the move toward personalized healthcare, namely, the values of autonomy, solidarity, and authenticity. The second aim is to provide a framework within which an alternative approach to self-tracking for health can be developed. I suggest that a practice-based approach, which studies how values are enacted in specific practices, can open the way for a new set of theoretical questions. In the last part of the paper, I sketch out how this can work by describing various enactments of autonomy, solidarity, and authenticity among self-trackers in the Quantified Self community. These examples show that shifting attention to practices can render visible alternative and sometimes unexpected enactments of values. Insofar as these may challenge both the promises and concerns in the debate on self-tracking for health, they can lay the groundwork for new conceptual interventions in future research. (shrink)
Thought experiments analogous to those discussed by Landau and Peierls are studied in the framework of a manifestly covariant relativistic quantum theory. It is shown that momentum and energy can be arbitrarily well defined, and that the drifts induced by measurement in the positions and times of occurrence of events remain within the (stable) spread of the wave packet in space-time. The structure of the Newton-Wigner position operator is studied in this framework, and it is shown that an analogous (...) time operator can be constructed which satisfies the canonical commutation relation with the energy E but does not commute (due to the presence of a time drift term) with the momentum p. The resulting commutation relation is used as a mathematical basis for the derivation of the Landau-Peierls relation Δt Δp≳ħ/c. (shrink)
This paper is devoted to Landau's concept of the problem of damping in quantum mechanics. It shows that Landau's density matrix formalism should survive in the context of modern quantum electrodynamics. The correct generalized master equation has been derived for the reduced dynamics of the charges. The recent relativistic theory of spontaneous emission becomes reproducible.
On 9 May 2005, the Israeli Ministry of Health issued guidelines spelling out the conditions under which sex selection by preimplantation genetic diagnosis for social purposes is to be permitted in Israel. This article first reviews the available medical methods for sex selection, the preference for children of a specific gender in various societies and the ethical controversies surrounding PGD for medical and social purposes in different countries. It focuses then on the question of whether procreative liberty or parental responsibility (...) should be the centre of attention in this context. Finally, the article critically examines the new Israeli guidelines and their implications for the women undergoing the necessary medical treatments, for the children born as a result, for other members of the family and for society in general. (shrink)
A correspondence allows application of Landau and Lifshitz’ formulation of Le Chatelier’s principle from statistical physics to a simple 2-D model of biological symbiosis. The insight: symbionts stabilize the occupation of narrow peaks on fitness landscape.
In recent years, all major consumer technology corporations have moved into the domain of health research. This ‘Googlization of health research’ begs the question of how the common good will be served in this research. As critical data scholars contend, such phenomena must be situated within the political economy of digital capitalism in order to foreground the question of public interest and the common good. Here, trends like GHR are framed within a double, incommensurable logic, where private gain and economic (...) value are pitted against public good and societal value. While helpful for highlighting the exploitative potential of digital capitalism, this framing is limiting, insofar as it acknowledges only one conception of the common good. This article uses the analytical framework of modes of justification developed by Boltanksi and Thévenot to identify a plurality of orders of worth and conceptualizations of the common good at work in GHR. Not just the ‘civic’ and ‘market’ orders, but also an ‘industrial’, a ‘project’, and what I call a ‘vitalist’ order. Using promotional material of GHR initiatives and preliminary interviews with participants in GHR projects, I ask what moral orientations guide different actors in GHR. Engaging seriously with these different conceptions of the common good is paramount. First, in order to critically evaluate them and explicate what is at stake in the move towards GHR, and ultimately, in order to develop viable governance solutions that ensure strong ‘civic’ components. (shrink)
The “paradox of fictional emotions” involves a trio of claims that are jointly inconsistent but individually plausible. Resolution of the paradox thus requires that we deny at least one of these plausible claims. The paradox has been formulated in various ways, but for the purposes of this chapter, we will focus on the following three claims, which we will refer to respectively as the Response Condition, the Belief Condition and the Coordination Condition.
New biotechnologies have propelled the question of what it means to be human - or posthuman - to the forefront of societal and scientific consideration. This volume provides an accessible, critical overview of the main approaches in the debate on posthumanism, and argues that they do not adequately address the question of what it means to be human in an age of biotechnology. Not because they belong to rival political camps, but because they are grounded in a humanist ontology that (...) presupposes a radical separation between human subjects and technological objects. The volume offers a comprehensive mapping of posthumanist discourse divided into four broad approaches-two humanist-based approaches: dystopic and liberal posthumanism, and two non-humanist approaches: radical and methodological posthumanism. The author compares and contrasts these models via an exploration of key issues, from human enhancement, to eugenics, to new configurations of biopower, questioning what role technology plays in defining the boundaries of the human, the subject and nature for each. Building on the contributions and limitations of radical and methodological posthumanism, the author develops a novel perspective, mediated posthumanism, that brings together insights in the philosophy of technology, the sociology of biomedicine, and Michel Foucault's work on ethical subject constitution. In this framework, technology is neither a neutral tool nor a force that alienates humanity from itself, but something that is always already part of the experience of being human, and subjectivity is viewed as an emergent property that is constantly being shaped and transformed by its engagements with biotechnologies. Mediated posthumanism becomes a tool for identifying novel ethical modes of human experience that are richer and more multifaceted than current posthumanist perspectives allow for. The book will be essential reading for students and scholars working on ethics and technology, philosophy of technology, poststructuralism, technology and the body, and medical ethics. (shrink)
In 1903 G.E. Moore celebrated a robust nonnaturalistic form of moral realism with the publication of his Principia Ethica. Subsequent years have witnessed the development and refinement of a number of views motivated at least in part by a deep resistance to the metaphysical and epistemological commitments of nonnaturalism. Over time, Moore’s view arguably has become the position of last resort for philosophers working in metaethics. Exactly one hundred years later, analytic metaethics has come full circle with the publication of (...) Russ Shafer-Landau’s Moral Realism: A Defence. Shafer-Landau confidently elaborates and defends a form of nonnaturalism about moral facts and properties, and conjoins his moral metaphysics with an anti-Humean theory of motivation, motivational externalism, reasons externalism, moral rationalism, and a hybrid of selfevident justification and reliabilism in moral epistemology. Needless to say, Shafer-Landau’s book is highly ambitious with respect to both the number of controversial theses it tries to defend as well as the antecedent skepticism it attempts to overcome. Regardless of whether its arguments are ultimately successful, Moral Realism deserves to be taken very seriously by anyone interested in metaethics, moral psychology, and the philosophy of action.1 In what follows, I will consider all five parts of Moral Realism in order, offering a brief summary of some of the main ideas in each section as well as raising a few objections (although without being able, in the space available, to do justice to all or even the majority of the interesting arguments with which the book is filled). (shrink)
Antibiotic resistance poses an urgent public health risk. High rates of ABR have been noted in all regions of the globe by the World Health Organization. ABR develops when bacteria are exposed to antibiotics either during treatments in humans or animals or through environmental sources contaminated with antibiotic residues. Spread beyond those administered antibiotics occurs through direct contact with the infected or colonized person or animal, through contact or ingestion of retail meat or agricultural products contaminated with ABR organisms, or (...) through the environment. ABR bacteria spread from individuals to populations and across countries. (shrink)
Since September 11, 2001, many people in the United States have been more inclined to use the language of good and evil, and to be more comfortable with the idea that certain moral standards are objective (true independently of what anyone happens to think of them). Some people, especially those who are not religious, are not sure how to substantiate this view. Whatever Happened to Good and Evil? provides a basis for exploring these doubts and ultimately defends the objectivity of (...) ethics. Engaging and accessible, it is the first introduction to meta-ethics written especially for students and general readers with no philosophical background. Focusing on the issues at the foundation of morality, it poses such questions as: How can we know what is right and wrong? Does ethical objectivity require God? Why should I be moral? Where do moral standards come from? What is a moral value, and how can it exist in a scientific world? Do cultural diversity and persistent moral disagreement support moral skepticism? Writing in a clear and lively style and employing many examples to illustrate theoretical arguments, Russ Shafer-Landau identifies the many weaknesses in contemporary moral skepticism and devotes considerable attention to presenting, and critiquing, the most difficult objections to his view. Also included in the book are a helpful summary of all the major arguments covered, as well as a glossary of key philosophical terms. Whatever Happened to Good and Evil? is ideal for a variety of philosophy courses and compelling reading for anyone interested in ethics. (shrink)
Introduction -- Part I: The good life -- Hedonism : its powerful appeal -- Is happiness all that matters? -- Getting what you want -- Problems for the desire theory -- Part II: Doing the right thing -- Morality and religion -- Natural law theory -- Psychological egoism -- Ethical egoism -- Consequentialism : its nature and attractions -- Consequentialism : its difficulties -- The kantian perspective : fairness and justice -- The kantian perspective : autonomy and respect -- The (...) social contract tradition : theory and attractions -- The social contract tradition : problems and prospects -- Ethical pluralism and absolute moral rules -- Ethical pluralism : prima facie duties and ethical particularism -- Virtue ethics -- Feminist ethics -- Part III: The status of morality -- Ethical relativism -- Moral nihilism -- Ten arguments against moral objectivity. (shrink)
Are moral systems actually impediments to leading a truly good human life? What is good and what is not good? Do we need anyone to tell us these things? With Russ Shaffer-Landau, Bryan Van Norden, and Richard Garner.
Feeling like doing something is not the same as deciding to do it. When you feel like doing something, you are still free to decide to do it or not. You are having an inclination to do it, but you are not thereby determined to do it. I call this the moment of drama. This book is about what you are faced with, in this moment. How should you relate to the inclinations you “have,” given that you are free to (...) “act on” them or not? To answer this question, we need an account of what sort of thing we are relating to, in this moment. But here we find a genuine philosophical problem. Our inclinations are forms of motivation, with respect to which we are distinctively passive. To be motivated is to be self-moved. But how can we be passive in relation to our own self-movement? Is our relation to our inclinations like that of rider to horse? Or is it like our relation to our own, spontaneous judgments or perceptions? I lay out three constraints on any theory of inclination, and I argue that familiar theories fail to meet them, because they make being inclined to φ too similar or dissimilar to φ-ing. I then put forward the “inner animal” view, which holds that when you are merely inclined to act, the instinctive part of yourself is already active, while the rest of you is not. In this moment, your will is “at a crossroads.” You can humanize your inclination, or dehumanize yourself. (shrink)
Oxford Studies in Epistemology is a major new biennial volume offering a regular snapshot of state-of-the-art work in this important field. Under the guidance of a distinguished editorial board composed of leading philosophers in North America, Europe, and Australasia, it will publish exemplary papers in epistemology, broadly construed. Anyone wanting to understand the latest developments at the leading edge of the discipline can start here. Contributors Stewart Cohen, Keith DeRose, Richard Fumerton, Alvin Goldman, Alan Hajek, Gilbert Harman, Frank Jackson, James (...) Joyce, Scott Sturgeon, Jonathan Vogel, Timothy Williamson. (shrink)
The datafication and digitalization of health and medicine has engendered a proliferation of new collaborations between public health institutions and data corporations like Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon. Critical perspectives on these new partnerships tend to frame them as an instance of market transgressions by tech giants into the sphere of health and medicine, in line with a “hostile worlds” doctrine that upholds that the borders between market and non-market spheres should be carefully policed. This article seeks to outline the (...) limitations of this common framing for critically understanding the phenomenon of the Googlization of health. In particular, the mobilization of a diversity of non-market value statements in the justification work carried out by actors involved in the Googlization of health indicates the co-presence of additional worlds or spheres in this context, which are not captured by the market vs. non-market dichotomy. It then advances an alternative framework, based on a multiple-sphere ontology that draws on Boltanski and Thevenot’s orders of worth and Michael Walzer’s theory of justice, which I call a normative pragmatics of justice. This framework addresses both the normative deficit in Boltanski and Thevenot’s work and provides an important emphasis on the empirical workings of justice. Finally, I discuss why this framework is better equipped to identify and to address the many risks raised by the Googlization of health and possibly other dimensions of the digitalization and datafication of society. (shrink)
According to the traditional view of the causal structure of a coincidence, the several parts of a coincidence are produced by independent causes. I argue that the traditional view is mistaken; even the several parts of a coincidence may have a common cause. This has important implications for how we think about the relationship between causation and causal explanation—and in particular, for why coincidences cannot be explained.
The contents of the inaugural volume of Oxford Studies in Metaethics nicely mirror the variety of issues that make this area of philosophy so interesting. The volume opens with Peter Railton's exploration of some central features of normative guidance, the mental states that underwrite it, and its relationship to our reasons for feeling and acting. In the next offering, Terence Cuneo takes up the case against expressivism, arguing that its central account of the nature of moral judgments is badly mistaken. (...) Terence Horgan and Mark Timmons, two of the most prominent contemporary expressivists, then offer their take on how expressivism manages to avoid a different objection-that of collapsing into an objectionable form of relativism. Daniel Jacobson and Justin D'Arms next offer an article that continues their research program devoted to exploring the extent to which values might depend upon, or be constrained by, human psychology. Ralph Wedgwood engages in some classical metaethical conceptual analysis, seeking to explicate the meaning of ought. Mark van Roojen then contributes a new take on the Moral Twin Earth Argument, a prominent anti-realist puzzle advanced in the early 1990s by Horgan and Timmons. -/- Allan Gibbard next presents his latest thoughts on the nature of moral feelings and moral concepts, crucial elements in the overall project of defending the expressivism he is so well known for. James Dreier then takes up the details of Gibbard's recent efforts to provide a solution to what many view as the most serious difficulty for expressivism, namely, the Frege-Geach problem. Dreier identifies difficulties in Gibbard's expressivist account, and offers a suggestion for their solution. Sergio Tenenbaum explores the concept of a direction of fit, relied on so heavily nowadays in accounts of moral motivation. Nadeem Hussain and Nishiten Shah then consider the merits of Christine Korsgaard's influential critique of moral realism. T. M. Scanlon's widely-discussed buck-passing account of value attracts the critical eye of Pekka Väyrynen, who attempts to reveal the reasons that we might resist it. Derek Parfit's contribution concludes this volume, with an article on normativity that presents his most recent thinking on this fundamental notion. (shrink)
There is a puzzle in the very notion of passive motivation ("passion" or "inclination"). To be motivated is not simply to be moved from the outside. Motivation is in some sense self-movement. But how can an agent be passive with respect to her own motivation? How is passive motivation possible? In this paper I defend the ancient view that inclination stems from a motivational source independent of reason, a motivational source that is both agential and nonrational.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, governments have turned their attention to digital contact tracing. In many countries, public debate has focused on the risks this technology poses to privacy, with advocates and experts sounding alarm bells about surveillance and mission creep reminiscent of the post 9/11 era. Yet, when Apple and Google launched their contact tracing API in April 2020, some of the world’s leading privacy experts applauded this initiative for its privacy-preserving technical specifications. In an interesting twist, the tech (...) giants came to be portrayed as greater champions of privacy than some democratic governments. This article proposes to view the Apple/Google API in terms of a broader phenomenon whereby tech corporations are encroaching into ever new spheres of social life. From this perspective, the advantage these actors have accrued in the sphere of the production of digital goods provides them with access to the spheres of health and medicine, and more worrisome, to the sphere of politics. These sphere transgressions raise numerous risks that are not captured by the focus on privacy harms. Namely, a crowding out of essential spherical expertise, new dependencies on corporate actors for the delivery of essential, public goods, the shaping of public policy by non-representative, private actors and ultimately, the accumulation of decision-making power across multiple spheres. While privacy is certainly an important value, its centrality in the debate on digital contact tracing may blind us to these broader societal harms and unwittingly pave the way for ever more sphere transgressions. (shrink)
In his “Reply to Iddo Landau,” Edmund Wall responds to the author’s critique of some of the views expressed in his “Sexual Harassment and Wrongful Communication.” The present article concentrates on what the author takes to be the main problem in Wall’s definition: by requiring that any act, even if intentional and cruel in nature, needs to be repeated to count as sexual harassment, Wall allows too much leeway and renders permissible a wide range of intentional, mean, and harmful (...) actions that most, including, the author believes, Wall himself, would like to outlaw. The article considers Wall’s linguistic and nonlinguistic responses to this critique and finds them problematic. (shrink)
The capacity to represent things to ourselves as possible plays a crucial role both in everyday thinking and in philosophical reasoning; this volume offers much-needed philosophical illumination of conceivability, possibility, and the relations between them.
Our project in this essay is to showcase nonnaturalistic moral realism’s resources for responding to metaphysical and epistemological objections by taking the view in some new directions. The central thesis we will argue for is that there is a battery of substantive moral propositions that are also nonnaturalistic conceptual truths. We call these propositions the moral fixed points. We will argue that they must find a place in any system of moral norms that applies to beings like us, in worlds (...) similar to our own. By committing themselves to true propositions of these sorts, nonnaturalists can fashion a view that is highly attractive in its own right, and resistant to the most prominent objections that have been pressed against it. (shrink)
In this entry we give an overview of the search for the neural correlates of consciousness (NCCs). We begin with a discussion of the conceptual complexities of defining the notion of an NCC. We then discuss some of the experimental approaches used to empirically investigate the NCCs. We then consider some competing views of NCCs. Finally, we consider how the competing views of NCCs bear on different theories of consciousness. We focus on the methodological and theoretical challenges facing this line (...) of research. (shrink)
What is terrorism and can it ever be defended? Beginning with its definition, proceeding to its possible justifications, and culminating in proposals for contending with and combating it, this book offers a full theoretical analysis of the issue of terrorism. Tamar Meisels argues that, regardless of its professed cause, terrorism is diametrically opposed to the requirements of liberal morality and can only be defended at the expense of relinquishing the most basic of liberal commitments. Meisels opposes those who express (...) sympathy and justification for Islamist terrorism and terrorism allegedly carried out on behalf of developing nations, but, at the same time, also opposes those who would tolerate any reduction in civil liberties in exchange for greater security. Calling wholeheartedly for a unanimous liberal front against terrorism, this is a strong and provocative attempt to address the tension between liberty and security in a time of terror. (shrink)