This paper evaluates the rhetoric of the U.S. bishops' pastoral letter on the U.S. economy from two perspectives. Is the letter convincing? Does it conform to the conversational norms of civilization? The paper argues that the bishops' letter fails by both standards because it ignores serious research on the U.S. economy, it misstates important facts about the economy, and it sneers at professional economists. The paper concludes that the bishops' letter will not be convincing to well informed readers.
In Truth and Truthfulness, Bernard Williams sought to defend the value of truth by giving a vindicatory genealogy revealing its instrumental value. But what separates Williams’s instrumental vindication from the indirect utilitarianism of which he was a critic? And how can genealogy vindicate anything, let alone something which, as Williams says of the concept of truth, does not have a history? In this paper, I propose to resolve these puzzles by reading Williams as a type of pragmatist and his genealogy (...) as a pragmatic genealogy. On this basis, I show just in what sense Williams’s genealogy can by itself yield reasons to cultivate a sense of the value of truth. Using various criticisms of Williams’s genealogical method as a foil, I then develop an understanding of pragmatic genealogy which reveals it to be uniquely suited to dealing with practices exhibiting what I call self-effacing functionality—practices that are functional only insofar as and because we do not engage in them for their functionality. I conclude with an assessment of the wider significance of Williams’s genealogy for his own oeuvre and for further genealogical inquiry. (shrink)
Critics of SRI have said little about the integrity of corporate representations resulting in screening inclusion or exclusion. This is surprising given social and environmental accounting research that finds corporate posturing and deception in the absence of external verification, and a parallel body of literature describing corporate "greenwashing" and other forms of corporate disinformation. In this paper I argue that the problems and challenges of ensuring fair and accurate corporate social reporting mirror those accompanying corporate compliance with law. Similarities and (...) points of convergence between social reporting and corporate compliance are discussed, along with proposals for reform. (shrink)
William S. Robinson has for many years written insightfully about the mind-body problem. In Understanding Phenomenal Consciousness he focuses on sensory experience and perception qualities such as colours, sounds and odours to present a dualistic view of the mind, called Qualitative Event Realism, that goes against the dominant materialist views. This theory is relevant to the development of a science of consciousness which is now being pursued not only by philosophers but by researchers in psychology and the brain sciences. (...) This provocative book will interest students and professionals who work in the philosophy of mind and will also have cross-disciplinary appeal in cognitive psychology and the brain sciences. (shrink)
This paper argues that the reading of Althusser which finds a pronounced continuity in his conception of the relations among science, philosophy, and politics is the correct one, this essay will begin with an examination of Althusser’s “scientism.” The meaning of this term (one that differs slightly from contemporary usages) will be specified before showing how and in what way Althusser’s political philosophy between 1960 and 1980 can be described as “scientistic.” The next section details the important political role Althusser (...) assigned to the sciences and particularly to the science of historical materialism during this period. This accomplished, the arguments of interpreters who emphasize the apparent difference in Althusser’s attitude towards science before and after 1980 will be considered. Here, possible reasons for such a reading will be rehearsed. Next, with the support of recently published and archival documents, this essay will engage in a close and comparative reading of Althusser’s texts from the 1970s and 1980s that have as their subject the relations among philosophy, science, and politics. This survey will show the continuity in Althusser’s position vis-à-vis the sciences: namely, that if we want good (i.e. desired) socio-politico-economic changes to result from our political actions, then it is necessary to engage in social scientific research or, at the very least, to consult such research and to use this knowledge in our political decision making. All this serves to support the conclusion that Althusser’s “new” political philosophy from the 1980s is not really so new. On the contrary, his writings on the materialism of the encounter and aleatory materialism represent prolongations and elaborations of positions and ideas already developed in the 1960s and 1970s and that include a mostly consistent understanding of the relations between scientific knowledge and political action. This is true even if the rhetorical and philosophical style in which these ideas are put forth in the 1980s differs from the ways in which these ideas were introduced during the prior two decades. (shrink)
Gilbert Harman (1990) seeks to defend psychophysical functionalism by articulating a representationalist view of the qualities of experience. The negative side of the present paper argues that the resources of this representationalist view are insufficient to ground the evident distinction between perception and (mere) thought. This failure makes the view unable to support the uses to which Harman wishes to put it. Several rescuing moves by other representationalists are considered, but none is found successful. Part of the difficulty in Harman's (...) (...) work is that he does not adequately specify the view he rejects. The positive aim of the present paper is to provide a robust intrinsic quality account of experience that offers advantages in comparison with Harman's view, and that plainly does not fall to any of the arguments he advances. (shrink)
The logical properties of the 'if-then' connective of ordinary English differ markedly from the logical properties of the material conditional of classical, two-valued logic. This becomes apparent upon examination of arguments in conversational English which involve (noncounterfactual) usages of if-then'. A nonclassical system of propositional logic is presented, whose conditional connective has logical properties approximating those of 'if-then'. This proposed system reduces, in a sense, to the classical logic. Moreover, because it is equivalent to a certain nonstandard three-valued logic, its (...) decision procedure is almost as efficient as that of the classical logic. It therefore provides a rational and convenient system in which to formalize English arguments. (shrink)
Plato's Sophist provides a careful translation of the Sophist, one of Plato's most complex and difficult dialogues, and includes materials designed to facilitate its usefulness as a text in college courses. The translation employs a minimum of interpretative paraphrasing while being presented in clear, readable English. Special attention has been given to consistency in translating key Greek terms. The book presents a special list of these terms and discusses them in the endnotes. The result is a translation that enables the (...) reader who lacks a knowledge of Greek to get much closer than usual to the original text. Cobb's introduction contains a detailed summary of the entire dialogue, clarifying the main themes and the general structure. He offers a fresh interpretation of the dialogue that shows how each theme contributes to the exploration of the nature of, and the relation between, philosophy and sophistry. The introduction is particularly useful to first readers of the Sophist. (shrink)
Shoemaker argues that a satisfactory resolution of Moore's paradox requires a _self-intimation thesis that posits a "constitutive relation between belief and believing that one believes." He claims that such a thesis is needed to explain the crucial fact that the assent conditions for '_P' entail those for '_I believe that P'. This paper argues for an alternative resolution of Moore's paradox that provides for an adequate explanation of the crucial fact without relying on the kind of necessary connection between first (...) and second-order beliefs that is posited by Shoemaker's self-intimation thesis. (shrink)
This essay takes a synthetic and critical approach to the scattered pieces of art criticism and aesthetic theory authored by Louis Althusser. Connecting these texts to his larger philosophical and political project, we argue that these reflections make an independent contribution to its worth and that they offer different perspectives on lingering theoretical problems. We piece together the insights that form the core of the Althusserian approach to aesthetics and show how these are formulated (in connection with the work of (...) Pierre Macherey as well as the dominant controversies of the time) and trace how their formulations take shape in relation to the work of different authors and artists. In addition to helping us better understand his overall project, Althusser’s aesthetic theory is, we argue, a powerful and original contribution to Marxist aesthetics. Specifically, it points us to the idea that we need to take aesthetic production seriously as a practice with its own specificity - one that has its own logics of determination, rituals of production, circulation, and consumption, one that commands effects that need to be theorized on their own terms. (shrink)
First-order logic. The origin of modern foundational studies. Frege's system and the paradoxes. The teory of types. Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory. Hilbert's program and Godel's incompleteness theorems. The foundational systems of W.V. Quine. Categorical algebra.
Efforts to institutionalize ethics in corporations have been discussed without first addressing the desirability of norm conformity or the possibility that the means used to elicit conformity will be coercive. This article presents a theoretical context, grounded in models of social control, within which ethics initiatives may be evaluated. Ethics initiatives are discussed in relation to variables that already exert control in the workplace, such as environmental controls, organizational controls, and personal controls.
This paper is concerned with the notion of ambiguity—or what I shall refer to more generally as homonymy—and its bearing upon various familiar puzzles about intensional contexts. It would hardly of course be a novel claim that the unravelling of such puzzles may well involve recourse to something like ambiguity. After all, Frege, who bequeathed to us one of the most enduring of the puzzles, proposed as part of his solution an analysis of intensional contexts according to which all expressions (...) change their sense when embedded in such contexts. And many contemporary philosophers who have discussed the puzzles, while not perhaps endorsing Frege's own somewhat extreme view, nevertheless take ambiguities in the contained sentences to be the key to the puzzles. In this paper, however, I wish to follow those who take the crucial source of homonymy, at least in the most difficult of the puzzles, to lie primarily not in the embedded sentences, but rather in the intensional verbs that embed them. I begin with a brief examination of certain aspects of ambiguity and homonymy. (shrink)
This paper is a commentary on Joseph Corabi’s “The Misuse and Failure of the Evolutionary Argument”, this Journal, vol. VI, No. 39; pp. 199-227. It defends William James’s formulation of the evolutionary argument against charges such as mishandling of evidence. Although there are ways of attacking James’s argument, it remains formidable, and Corabi’s suggested revision is not an improvement on James’s statement of it.
Contemporaries often reject epiphenomenalism out of hand, while Russellian Monism is regarded as worthy of further development. It is argued here that this difference of attitudes is indefensible, because the easy rejection of EPI is due to its violating a certain Causal Intuition, and RM implicitly violates that same intuition. An enriched version of RM mitigates the violation, but the same mitigation results if we make a parallel enrichment of EPI. If RM and EPI are approached on a level playing (...) field, it is not obvious which will prove to be the better view. (shrink)
Silent thinking is often accompanied by subvocal sayings to ourselves, imagery, emotional feelings, and non-sensory experiences such as familiarity, rightness, and confidence that we can go on in certain ways. Phenomenological materials of these kinds, along with our dispositions to give explanations or draw inferences, provide resources that are sufficient to account for our knowledge of what we think, desire, and so on. We do not need to suppose that there is a distinctive, non-imagistic 'what it is like' to think (...) that p, and a different non-imagistic 'what it is like' to think that q. Nor need we suppose that there is a proprietary 'what it is like' to have one propositional attitude type rather than another. (shrink)
The formal systems of logic have ordinarily been regarded as independent of biology, but recent developments in evolutionary theory suggest that biology and logic may be intimately interrelated. In this book, William Cooper outlines a theory of rationality in which logical law emerges as an intrinsic aspect of evolutionary biology. This biological perspective on logic, though at present unorthodox, could change traditional ideas about the reasoning process. Cooper examines the connections between logic and evolutionary biology and illustrates how logical (...) rules are derived directly from evolutionary principles, and therefore have no independent status of their own. Laws of decision theory, utility theory, induction, and deduction are reinterpreted as natural consequences of evolutionary processes. Cooper's connection of logical law to evolutionary theory ultimately results in a unified foundation for an evolutionary science of reason. It will be of interest to professionals and students of philosophy of science, logic, evolutionary theory, and cognitive science. (shrink)
Against the Manichees, Augustine argued that sin must involve a free exercise of will. Otherwise it will not count as the agent's own act for which the agent is morally responsible. In the 390's, however, Augustine became convinced that only the first humans sinned by free exercise of will. This view faced him with the question: how is it that unambiguously good agents come to will the evil? Augustine found no satisfactory solution, and the first evil will appears, on his (...) reckoning, to be either a random outcome or due to a withholding of grace. Despite his best efforts, his account of moral agency in evil remains flawed. (shrink)
In a careful exposition of French Marxism, William Lewis places Althusser and his thought alongside the pre- and post-war French communist intellectual climate: the result is an excellent and unique work. Part theoretical treatise on some of Althusser's more complicated and less explored ideas, part intellectual history, Louis Althusser and the Traditions of French Marxism is, in total, an important text for philosophy, French and francophone studies, political thought, cultural studies, marxist thought, and several other disciplines interested in the (...) intellectual life and times of the twientieth century. (shrink)
This book presents and survey of the foundations of mathematics. The emphasis is on a mathematical comparison of systems rather than on any exhaustive development of analysis within a single system. Nevertheless, for most systems considered, enough details are given for the development of arithmetic, and the method of constructing the other notions of analysis is indicated. The elements of the general theory of cardinal and ordinal numbers are also furnished in the course of this work.
Taking an analytic and historical approach, this work develops and defends Althusserian critical theory. This theory, it is argued, produces knowledge of how a particular class of people, in a particular time, in a particular place, is dominated, oppressed, or exploited. Moreover, without relying on a general notion of human emancipation, concrete critical theory can suggest political means for the alleviation of these conditions. Because it puts Althusser’s ideas in dialogue with contemporary social science and philosophy, the book as a (...) whole makes contributions to Althusser studies, to Anglo-American political philosophy, and to current debates in the philosophy of the social sciences. (shrink)
Horton and Gerrig outlined a memory-based processing model of conversational common ground that provided a description of how speakers could both strategically and automatically gain access to information about others through domain-general memory processes acting over ordinary memory traces. In this article, we revisit this account, reviewing empirical findings that address aspects of this memory-based model. In doing so, we also take the opportunity to clarify what we believe this approach implies about the cognitive psychology of common ground, and just (...) as important, what it does not imply. We also highlight related areas of research demonstrating how general cognitive processes can constrain access to relevant knowledge in ways that shape both language production and comprehension. (shrink)
This paper begins with a summary of an argument for epiphenomenalism and a review of the author's previous work on the self-stultification objection to that view. The heart of the paper considers an objection to this previous work and provides a new response to it. Questions for this new response are considered and a view is developed in which knowledge of our own mentality is seen to differ from our knowledge of external things.
As part of a defense of a physicalist view of experiences, David Papineau has offered an explanation for the intuition that properties found in experiences are distinct from neural properties. After providing some necessary background, I argue that Papineau’s explanation is not the best explanation of the distinctness intuition. An alternative explanation that is compatible with dualism is offered. Unlike Papineau’s explanation, this alternative does not require us to suppose that the distinctness intuition rests on fallacious reasoning. Relations of the (...) alternative explanation to representationalism and to cases of genuine property identity are discussed. (shrink)
Consideration of the work of Sade in relation to Adorno usually refers to the much-discussed chapter from Dialektik der Aufklärung. But Adorno made a number of other remarks across his career that suggest a very different reading. I will discuss the three most significant of these remarks and show how they develop an approach to the libidinal aspect of aesthetic experience that challenges our understanding of the relation of thought and language. In doing so, Sade’s works indicate an extraordinary liberation (...) of the dialectic of natural-history through a mimesis of desire, which is made apparent in what Sade’s texts literally present; in their contingency and also their facticity. (shrink)