There are many questions we can ask about time, but perhaps the most fundamental is whether there are metaphysically interesting differences between past, present and future events. An eternalist believes in a block universe: past, present and future events are all on an equal footing. A gradualist believes in a growing block: he agrees with the eternalist about the past and the present but not about the future. A presentist believes that what is present has a special status. My first (...) claim is that the familiar ways of articulating these views result in there being no substantive disagreement at all between the three parties. I then show that if we accept the controversial truthmaking principle, we can articulate a substantive disagreement. Finally, I apply this way of formulating the debate to related questions such as the open future and determinism, showing that these do not always line up in quite the way one would expect. (shrink)
This is an extremely thorough revision of the leading textbook of bioethics. The authors have made many improvements in style, organization, argument and content. These changes reflect advances in the bioethics literature over the past five years. The most dramatic expansions of the text are in the comprehensiveness with which the authors treat different currents in ethical theory and the greater breadth and depth of their discussion of public policy and public health issues. In every chapter, readers will find new (...) material and refinements of old discussions. This is evident in the many new sections on topics like communitarianism, ethics of care, relationship-based accounts, casuistry, case-based reasoning, principle-based common-morality theories, the justification of assistance in dying, rationing through priorities in the health care budget, and virtues in professional roles. The most extensive revisions are in chapters 1, 2 and 8. (shrink)
Kant's claim that modality is a 'category' provides an approach to modality to be contrasted with Lewis's reductive analysis. Lewis's position is unsatisfactory, since it depends on an inherently modal conception of a world. This suggests that modality is 'primitive'; and the Kantian position is a prima facie plausible position of this kind, which is filled out by considering the relationship between modality and inference. This provides a context for comparing the Kantian position with Wright's non-cognitivist 'conventionalism'. Wright's position is (...) vulnerable to the type of argument used against ethical non-cognitivism, and the Kantian position is further confirmed by Blackburn's acknowledgment that modality is 'antinaturalistic to its core'. The position is further elaborated to show that it can accommodate the famous Kripkean categories of the empirically necessary and the contingent a priori, and finally defended against the criticisms used by Quine against Carnap. (shrink)
Many deontologists explain the epistemic value of justification in terms of its instrumental role in promoting truth – the original source of value in the epistemic domain. The swamping problem for truth monism appears to make this position indefensible, at least for those monists who maintain the superiority of knowledge to merely true belief. I propose a new solution to the swamping problem that allows monists to maintain the greater epistemic value of knowledge over merely true belief. My trick is (...) to deny the swamping premise itself. (shrink)
This article develops an unconventional perspective on the utilitarianism of Bentham and Mill in at least four areas. First, it is shown that both authors conceived of utility as irreducibly multi-dimensional, and that Bentham in particular was very much aware of the ambiguity that multi-dimensionality imposes upon optimal choice under the greatest happiness principle. Secondly, I argue that any attribution of intrinsic worth to any form of human behaviour violates the first principles of Bentham's and Mill's utilitarianism, and that this (...) renders both authors immune to the claim by G. E. Moore that they committed a ‘naturalistic fallacy’. Thirdly, in light of these contentions, I find no flaw in Mill's ‘proof of utility’. Fourthly, I use the notion of intrapersonal utility weights to provide an interpretation of Mill's qualitative hedonism that is entirely consistent with his value monism. (shrink)
Our intuitions about what a person epistemically ought or ought not believe are sometimes quite clear. Keith DeRose and Richard Feldman have devised examples about which our intuitions are likely to conflict. DeRose argues that the conflict of intuitions arises from ambiguity in the epistemic ought. I argue that it results from incompleteness. The success of the argument depends on rejecting the narrow conception of evidential support according to which a person’s evidence supports some proposition P only if the person (...) apprehends the connection between her evidence and P. I argue that this view is mistaken. (shrink)
The principal thesis in this book is that bioethics emerged—in the 1960s through the 1980s—under the influence of philosophers who claimed to have universally valid principles that could steer medicine and research to the solution of ethical problems, including even those arising at the bedside of patients. Tom Koch contends that these philosophers and their allied bioethicists “stole medicine” and its traditional values, substituting a philosophical discourse generally inaccessible to the average person. Philosophers thereby refashioned medical ethics in accordance with (...) their vision of a morally and intellectually robust new field. Koch maintains that philosophers have failed to deliver on their promises and that .. (shrink)
Western ethics and law have been slow to come to conclusions about the right to choose the time and manner of one's death. However, policies, practices, and legal precedents have evolved quickly in the last quarter of the twentieth century, from the forgoing of respirators to the use of Do Not Resuscitate orders, to the forgoing of all medical technologies, and now, in one U.S. state, to legalized physician-assisted suicide. The sweep of history—from the Quinlan case in New Jersey to (...) legislation in Oregon that allows physician-assisted suicide—has been as rapid as it has been revolutionary. (shrink)
“Practice” has become a ubiquitous term in the history of science, and yet historians have not always reflected on its philosophical import and especially on its potential connections with ethics. In this essay, we draw on the work of the virtue ethicist Alasdair MacIntyre to develop a theory of “communal practices” and explore how such an approach can inform the history of science, including allegations about the corruption of science by wealth or power; consideration of scientific ethics or “moral economies”; (...) the role of values in science; the ethical distinctiveness of scientific vocations; and the relationship between history of science and the practice of science itself. (shrink)
Tom Stoneham offers a clear and detailed study of Berkeley's metaphysics and epistemology, as presented in his classic work Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, originally published in 1713 and still widely studied. Stoneham shows that Berkeley is an important and systematic philosopher whose work is still of relevance to philosophers today.
The Uniqueness thesis says that any body of evidence E uniquely determines which doxastic attitude is rationally permissible regarding some proposition P. Permissivists deny Uniqueness. They are charged with arbitrarily favouring one doxastic attitude out of the set of attitudes they regard as rationally permissible. Simpson claims that an appeal to differences in cognitive abilities can remove the arbitrariness. I argue that it can't. Impermissivists face a challenge of their own: The problem of fine distinctions. I suggest that meeting this (...) challenge requires impermissivists to loosen up at higher levels – when comparing belief-forming systems that differ in the fineness of their doxastic outputs. This more relaxed take on Uniqueness is a kind of ‘intraspecies impermissivism’. (shrink)
Mark Nelson argues that we have no positive epistemic duties. His case rests on the evidential inexhaustibility of sensory and propositional evidence—what he calls their ‘infinite justificational fecundity’. It is argued here that Nelson’s reflections on the richness of sensory and propositional evidence do make it doubtful that we ever have an epistemic duty to add any particular beliefs to our belief set, but that they fail to establish that we have no positive epistemic duties whatsoever. A theory of epistemic (...) obligation based on Kant’s idea of an imperfect duty is outlined. It is suggested that such a theory is consistent with the inexhaustibility of sensory and propositional evidence. Finally, one feature of our epistemic practice suggestive of the existence of imperfect epistemic duties is identified and promoted. (shrink)
Tom Beauchamp presents a new edition, designed especially for the student reader, of An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding, the classic work in which David Hume gave a general exposition of his philosophy to a broad educated readership. An authoritative new version of the text is preceded by a substantial introduction explaining the historical and intellectual background to the work and surveying its main themes. The volume also includes detailed explanatory notes on the text, a glossary of terms, and a section (...) of supplementary readings. (shrink)
Chase Wrenn argues that there are no epistemic duties. When it appears that we have an epistemic duty to believe, disbelieve or suspend judgement about some proposition P, we are really under a moral obligation to adopt the attitude towards P that our evidence favours. The argument appeals to theoretical parsimony: our conceptual scheme will be simpler without epistemic duties and we should therefore drop them. I argue that Wrenn’s strategy is flawed. There may well be things that we ought (...) to do on epistemic grounds alone. (shrink)
The paper defends the thesis that our epistemic duty is the duty to proportion our beliefs to the evidence we possess. An inclusive view of evidence possessed is put forward on the grounds that it makes sense of our intuitions about when it is right to say that a person ought to believe some proposition P. A second thesis is that we have no epistemic duty to adopt any particular doxastic attitudes. The apparent tension between the two theses is resolved (...) by applying the concept of duty to belief indirectly. (shrink)
Epistemic obligations are constraints on belief stemming from epistemic considerations alone. Booth is one of the many philosophers who deny that there are epistemic obligations. Any obligation pertaining to belief is an all things considered obligation, according to him—a strictly generic, rather than specifically epistemic, requirement. Though Booth’s argument is valid, I will try to show that it is unsound. There are two central premises: S is justified in believing that P iff S is blameless in believing that P; S (...) is blameless in believing that P iff S has not violated an all things considered duty in believing that P. Both premises are false. My argument against depends on my own theory of epistemic obligations. My argument against does not. This paper is part of a larger project—defending epistemic requirements in general against a series of objections and advancing a particular theory that solves various problems. (shrink)
Tom Sparrow shows how, in the 21st century, speculative realism aims to do what phenomenology could not: provide a philosophical method that disengages the human-centred approach to metaphysics in order to chronicle the complex realm of nonhuman reality. -/- Through a focused reading of the methodological statements and metaphysical commitments of key phenomenologists and speculative realists, Sparrow shows how speculative realism is replacing phenomenology as the beacon of realism in contemporary Continental philosophy.
In an influential paper, L. A. Paul argues that one cannot rationally decide whether to have children. In particular, she argues that such a decision is intractable for standard decision theory. Paul's central argument in this paper rests on the claim that becoming a parent is ``epistemically transformative''---prior to becoming a parent, it is impossible to know what being a parent is like. Paul argues that because parenting is epistemically transformative, one cannot estimate the values of the various outcomes of (...) a decision whether to become a parent. In response, we argue that it is possible to estimate the value of epistemically transformative experiences. Therefore, there is no special difficulty involved in deciding whether to undergo epistemically transformative experiences. Insofar as major life decisions do pose a challenge to decision theory, we suggest that this is because they often involve separate, familiar problems. (shrink)
Two currents of thought dominated Western philosophy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: Continental Rationalism and British Empiricism. Despite the gradual dissemination of British ideas on the Continent in the first decades of the eighteenth century, these fundamentally disparate philosophical outlooks seemed to be wholly irreconcilable. However, the publication of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in 1781 presented an entirely new method of philosophical reasoning that promised to combine the virtues of Rationalism with the scientific rigour of Empiricism. This (...) book offers the first extended analysis of Kant's method of proof in philosophy. The author constructs a model based on Kant's own statements about his procedure and then examines his famous proofs in light of it. Great emphasis is placed on historical accuracy and the debunking of popular myths about Kant's aims and doctrines. The result is a compelling new picture of Kant that will challenge current assumptions. (shrink)
The concept of rights is now so dominant in the language of politics that it is becoming difficult to identify its use with any particular approach to the solution of social problems or to gain a clear picture of its significance, its advantages and its disadvantages as a way of conceptualizing and resolving contentious political issues. None the less there is a perceptible shift towards an emphasis on rights in contemporary politics which many welcome and encourage and others question and (...) even reject, a shift which is matched in jurisprudence by the renewed stress which many theorists place on rights as a basic legal concept despite recurrent problems associated with the concept as a tool for legal analysis and moral justification. Conflicting theories of legal rights are canvassed and this in turn feeds into the debate concerning the reality or significance of non-legal rights, for the process of law reform is often presented as a matter of giving legal embodiment to the rights which various interested categories of people are asserted to possess already. (shrink)
Bioethics claimed to offer a set of generally applicable, universally accepted guidelines that would simplify complex situations. In Thieves of Virtue, Tom Koch argues that bioethics has failed to deliver on its promises.
There is a small but growing community of researchers spanning a spectrum of disciplines which are united in rejecting the still dominant computationalist paradigm in favor of theenactive approach. The framework of this approach is centered on a core set of ideas, such as autonomy, sense-making, emergence, embodiment, and experience. These concepts are finding novel applications in a diverse range of areas. One hot topic has been the establishment of an enactive approach to social interaction. The main purpose of this (...) paper is to serve as an advanced entry point into these recent developments. It accomplishes this task in a twofold manner: it provides a succinct synthesis of the most important core ideas and arguments in the theoretical framework of the enactive approach, and it uses this synthesis to refine the current enactive approach to social interaction. A new operational definition of social interaction is proposed which not only emphasizes the cognitive agency of the individuals and the irreducibility of the interaction process itself, but also the need for jointly co-regulated action. It is suggested that this revised conception of ‘socio-cognitive interaction’ may provide the necessary middle ground from which to understand the confluence of biological and cultural values in personal action. (shrink)
In this paper, we develop an analysis of the structure and content of loneliness. We argue that this is an emotion of absence-an affective state in which certain social goods are regarded as out of reach for the subject of experience. By surveying the range of social goods that appear to be missing from the lonely person's perspective, we see what it is that can make this emotional condition so subjectively awful for those who undergo it, including the profound sense (...) of being unable to realise oneself, in collaboration with others. (shrink)
Our successful engagement with the world is plausibly underwritten by our sensitivity to affordances in our immediate environment. The considerable literature on affordances focuses almost exclusively on affordances for bodily actions such as gripping, walking or eating. I propose that we are also sensitive to affordances for mental actions such as attending, imagining and counting. My case for this ‘Mental Affordance Hypothesis’ is motivated by a series of examples in which our sensitivity to mental affordances mirrors our sensitivity to bodily (...) affordances. Specifically, subjects perceive opportunities to perform a mental action and their doing so leads, under the right conditions, to the automatic preparation of that action. I conclude by sketching a mental affordance research program that would reinforce my case for the Mental Affordance Hypothesis and establish its ramifications for a number of debates across philosophy and psychology. (shrink)
The life–mind continuity thesis holds that mind is prefigured in life and that mind belongs to life. The biggest challenge faced by proponents of this thesis is to show how an explanatory framework that accounts for basic biological processes can be systematically extended to incorporate the highest reaches of human cognition. We suggest that this apparent ‘cognitive gap’ between minimal and human forms of life appears insurmountable largely because of the methodological individualism that is prevalent in cognitive science. Accordingly, a (...) twofold strategy is used to show how a consideration of sociality can address both sides of the cognitive gap: (1) it is argued from a systemic perspective that inter-agent interactions can extend the behavioral domain of even the simplest agents and (2) it is argued from a phenomenological perspective that the cognitive attitude characteristic of adult human beings is essentially intersubjectively constituted, in particular with respect to the possibility of perceiving objects as detached from our own immediate concerns. These two complementary considerations of the constitutive role of inter-agent interactions for mind and cognition indicate that sociality is an indispensable element of the life–mind continuity thesis and of cognitive science more generally. (shrink)
The question of whether we can perceive absences, in addition to ‘positives’, has received recent attention in the literature on the nature of vision and audition. The aim is to demonstrate that there can be objectless forms of perceptual consciousness; specifically, to show that such episodes can be distinguished from those in which there is merely no perception at all. The current article explores this question for the domain of olfaction, and argues that there can be experiences of the absence (...) of odours, in addition to positive smell perception. Doing so sheds light upon the structure and spatial content of olfaction. (shrink)
In this book, Tom Cochrane develops a new control theory of the emotions and related affective states. Grounded in the basic principle of negative feedback control, his original account outlines a new fundamental kind of mental content called 'valent representation'. Upon this foundation, Cochrane constructs new models for emotions, pains and pleasures, moods, expressive behaviours, evaluative reasoning, personality traits and long-term character commitments. These various states are presented as increasingly sophisticated layers of regulative control, which together underpin the architecture of (...) the mind as a whole. Clearly structured and containing numerous diagrams and examples to illustrate the discussion, this study draws on the latest research from fields including philosophy, psychology and neuroscience, and will appeal to readers interested in the philosophy and cognitive science of emotion. (shrink)
In a health service with limited resources we must make decisions about who to treat first. In this paper I develop a version of the restoration argument according to which those whose need for resources is a consequence of their voluntary choices should receive lower priority when it comes to health care. I then consider three possible problems for this argument based on those that have been raised against other theories of this type: that we don't know in a particular (...) case that the illness is self-inflicted, that it seems that all illness is self-inflicted in the sense used in my argument, and finally that this type of approach incorporates an unacceptable moralising element if it is to avoid giving those like fire-fighters a lower priority for treatment. I argue that the position outlined here has the resources to respond to each of these objections. (shrink)
I argue for the possibility of an extremely intimate connection between the emotional content of the music and the emotional state of the person who produces that music. Under certain specified conditions, the music may not just influence, but also partially constitute the musician’s emotional state.
From Platonism to phenomenology -- Kant's epistemological shift to phenomenology -- Hegel's phenomenology as epistemology -- Husserl's phenomenological epistemology -- Heidegger's phenomenological ontology -- Kant, Merleau-Ponty's descriptive phenomenology, and the primacy of perception -- On overcoming the epistemological problem through phenomenology.
The anglophone philosophy profession has a well-known problem with gender equity. A sig-nificant aspect of the problem is the fact that there are simply so many more male philoso-phers than female philosophers among students and faculty alike. The problem is at its stark-est at the faculty level, where only 22% - 24% of philosophers are female in the United States (Van Camp 2014), the United Kingdom (Beebee & Saul 2011) and Australia (Goddard 2008).<1> While this is a result of the (...) percentage of women declining at each point through-out the standard career trajectory, recent large-scale studies in the United States (Paxton et al. 2012) and Australia (Goddard et al. 2008) have identified a key drop-off point as the transi-tion between taking introductory classes and majoring in philosophy. So why do dispropor-tionately few female students choose to major in philosophy? (shrink)
We take rights to be fundamental to everyday life. Rights are also controversial and hotly debated both in theory and practice. Where do rights come from? Are they invented or discovered? What sort of rights are there and who is entitled to them? In this comprehensive introduction, Tom Campbell introduces and critically examines the key philosophical debates about rights. The first part of the book covers historical and contemporary theories of rights, including the origin and variety of rights and standard (...) justifications of them. He considers challenges to rights from philosophers such as Bentham, Burke and Marx. He also examines different theories of rights, such as natural law, social contract, utilitarian and communitarian theories of rights and the philosophers and political theorists associated with them, such as John Stuart Mill, John Rawls, Robert Nozick and Michael Sandel. The second part of the book explores the role of rights-promoting institutions and critically assesses legal rights and international human rights, including the United Nations. The final part of the book examines how philosophies of rights can be applied to freedom of speech, issues of social welfare and the question of self-determination for certain groups or peoples. _Rights: A Critical Introduction_ is essential reading for anyone new to the subject of rights and any student of political philosophy, politics and law. (shrink)