Nicholas Shackel Cardiff University, Oxford University
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  • Faculty, Cardiff University
  • Research staff, Oxford University
  • PhD, Nottingham University, 2004.

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  1. Nicholas Shackel (2014). A Problem for the Unity of Normativity. Analysis 74 (3):404-411.
    A prevalent assumption is that normativity is a unity. In this paper I argue against this assumption by demonstrating the problems it poses to a well known answer to a well known problem for taking rationality to be normative. John Broome's normative requirement relation does indeed avoid that problem, but insofar as the relation is supposed to offer a general characterisation of the normativity of rationality, it fails. It fails because it cannot capture an important aspect of the normativity of (...)
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  2. Nicholas Shackel (2014). Still Waiting for a Plausible Humean Theory of Reasons. Philosophical Studies 167 (3):607-633.
    In his important recent book Schroeder proposes a Humean theory of reasons that he calls hypotheticalism. His rigourous account of the weight of reasons is crucial to his theory, both as an element of the theory and constituting his defence to powerful standard objections to Humean theories of reasons. In this paper I examine that rigourous account and show it to face problems of vacuity and consonance. There are technical resources that may be brought to bear on the problem of (...)
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  3. Nicholas Shackel (2014). The Nought Belief Paradox. Erkenntnis 79 (3):523-529.
    A paradox is presented that the poses new problems for both the truth norm and the knowledge norm of belief.
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  4. Nicholas Shackel (2013). Pseudoscience and Idiosyncratic Theories of Rational Belief. In M. Pigliucci & M. Boudry (eds.), The Philosophy of Pseudoscience. University of Chicago Press. 417.
    I take pseudoscience to be a pretence at science. Pretences are innumerable, limited only by our imagination and credulity. As Stove points out, ‘numerology is actually quite as different from astrology as astrology is from astronomy’ (Stove 1991, 187). We are sure that ‘something has gone appallingly wrong’ (Stove 1991, 180) and yet ‘thoughts…can go wrong in a multiplicity of ways, none of which anyone yet understands’ (Stove 1991, 190). Often all we can do is give a careful description of (...)
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  5. Nicholas Shackel (2013). The Fragility of Freedom of Speech. Journal of Medical Ethics 39 (5):316-316.
    Freedom of speech is a fundamental liberty that imposes a stringent duty of tolerance. Tolerance is limited by direct incitements to violence. False notions and bad laws on speech have obscured our view of this freedom. Hence, perhaps, the self-righteous intolerance, incitements and threats in response to Giubilini and Minerva. Those who disagree have the right to argue back but their attempts to shut us up are morally wrong.
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  6. Katja Wiech, Guy Kahane, Nicholas Shackel, Miguel Farias, Julian Savulescu & Irene Tracey (2013). Cold or Calculating? Reduced Activity in the Subgenual Cingulate Cortex Reflects Decreased Emotional Aversion to Harming in Counterintuitive Utilitarian Judgment. Cognition 126 (3):364-372.
    Recent research on moral decision-making has suggested that many common moral judgments are based on immediate intuitions. However, some individuals arrive at highly counterintuitive utilitarian conclusions about when it is permissible to harm other individuals. Such utilitarian judgments have been attributed to effortful reasoning that has overcome our natural emotional aversion to harming others. Recent studies, however, suggest that such utilitarian judgments might also result from a decreased aversion to harming others, due to a deficit in empathic concern and social (...)
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  7. Guy Kahane, Katja Wiech, Nicholas Shackel, Miguel Farias, Julian Savulescu & Irene Tracey (2012). The Neural Basis of Intuitive and Counterintuitive Moral Judgement. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 7 (4):393-402.
    Neuroimaging studies on moral decision-making have thus far largely focused on differences between moral judgments with opposing utilitarian (well-being maximizing) and deontological (duty-based) content. However, these studies have investigated moral dilemmas involving extreme situations, and did not control for two distinct dimensions of moral judgment: whether or not it is intuitive (immediately compelling to most people) and whether it is utilitarian or deontological in content. By contrasting dilemmas where utilitarian judgments are counterintuitive with dilemmas in which they are intuitive, we (...)
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  8. Nicholas Shackel (2011). The World as a Graph: Defending Metaphysical Graphical Structuralism. Analysis 71 (1):10-21.
    Metaphysical graphical structuralism is the view that at some fundamental level the world is a mathematical graph of nodes and edges. Randall Dipert has advanced a graphical structuralist theory of fundamental particulars and Alexander Bird has advanced a graphical structuralist theory of fundamental properties. David Oderberg has posed a powerful challenge to graphical structuralism: that it entails the absurd inexistence of the world or the absurd cessation of all change. In this paper I defend graphical structuralism. A sharper formulation, some (...)
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  9. Guy Kahane & Nicholas Shackel (2010). Methodological Issues in the Neuroscience of Moral Judgement. Mind and Language 25 (5):561-582.
    Neuroscience and psychology have recently turned their attention to the study of the subpersonal underpinnings of moral judgment. In this article we critically examine an influential strand of research originating in Greene's neuroimaging studies of ‘utilitarian’ and ‘non-utilitarian’ moral judgement. We argue that given that the explananda of this research are specific personal-level states—moral judgments with certain propositional contents—its methodology has to be sensitive to criteria for ascribing states with such contents to subjects. We argue that current research has often (...)
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  10. Darrell P. Rowbottom & Nicholas Shackel (2010). Bangu's Random Thoughts on Bertrand's Paradox. Analysis 70 (4):689-692.
    Bangu (2010) claims that Bertrand’s paradox rests on a hitherto unrecognized assumption, which assumption is sufficiently dubious to throw the burden of proof back onto ‘objectors to [the principle of indifference]’ (2010: 31). We show that Bangu’s objection to the assumption is ill-founded and that the assumption is provably true.
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  11. Nicholas Shackel (2010). Sophism and Pragmatism. Logique Et Analyse 53 (210):131-149.
    A traditional pastime of philosophers is the analysis of rhetoric and the repudiation of sophistry. Nevertheless, some of what philosophers call sophistry might rather be a subtle repudiation of the traditional principles of rationality. In this paper I start by granting the Sophist his repudiation and outline some of the obstacles to settling the dispute between Sophists and Rationalists. I then suggest that we should distinguish pragmatic Sophism from nihilistic Sophism. In the hope of driving a wedge between these two (...)
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  12. Nicholas Shackel (2008). Coherentism and the Symmetry of Epistemic Support. Analysis 68 (299):226–234.
    In this paper I prove that holistic coherentism is logically equivalent to the conjunction of symmetry and quasi-transitivity of epistemic support and a condition on justified beliefs. On the way I defend Tom Stoneham from a criticism made by Darrell Rowbottom and prove a premiss of Stoneham’s argument to be an entailment of coherentism.
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  13. Nicholas Shackel (2008). Paradoxes of Probability. In Tamas Rudas (ed.), Handbook of Probability Theory with Applications.
    We call something a paradox if it strikes us as peculiar in a certain way, if it strikes us as something that is not simply nonsense, and yet it poses some difficulty in seeing how it could make sense. When we examine paradoxes more closely, we find that for some the peculiarity is relieved and for others it intensifies. Some are peculiar because they jar with how we expect things to go, but the jarring is to do with imprecision and (...)
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  14. Nicholas Shackel & Guy Kahane (2008). Do Abnormal Responses Show Utilitarian Bias? Nature 452:E5.
  15. Nicholas Shackel (2007). Bertrand's Paradox and the Principle of Indifference. Philosophy of Science 74 (2):150-175.
    The principle of indifference is supposed to suffice for the rational assignation of probabilities to possibilities. Bertrand advances a probability problem, now known as his paradox, to which the principle is supposed to apply; yet, just because the problem is ill‐posed in a technical sense, applying it leads to a contradiction. Examining an ambiguity in the notion of an ill‐posed problem shows that there are precisely two strategies for resolving the paradox: the distinction strategy and the well‐posing strategy. The main (...)
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  16. Nicholas Shackel (2007). Parting Smoothly? Analysis 67 (296):321–324.
    In ‘How to part ways smoothly’ Hud Hudson (2007) presents ‘two temporally-continuous spatially unextended material objects that ... share all of their temporal parts up until their very last time-slice’ (2007: 156). They share their location throughout all but the last instant of their lives, at which instant they are a metre apart. Hudson claims that they part smoothly. I shall show that they don’t.
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  17. Michael Clark & Nicholas Shackel (2006). The Dr. Psycho Paradox and Newcomb's Problem. Erkenntnis 64 (1):85 - 100.
    Nicholas Rescher claims that rational decision theory “may leave us in the lurch”, because there are two apparently acceptable ways of applying “the standard machinery of expected-value analysis” to his Dr. Psycho paradox which recommend contradictory actions. He detects a similar contradiction in Newcomb’s problem. We consider his claims from the point of view of both Bayesian decision theory and causal decision theory. In Dr. Psycho and in Newcomb’s Problem, Rescher has used premisses about probabilities which he assumes to be (...)
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  18. Nicholas Shackel (2006). Shutting Dretske's Door. Erkenntnis 64 (3):393 - 401.
    Dretske proposes a theory of knowledge in terms of a theory of information, but wishes to deny that empirical knowledge settles the large question of scepticism. This leads him to deny the closure of knowledge under known entailment. In a recent paper Jäger argues that Dretske’s theory of information entails closure for knowledge, ‘at least for the kind of propositions here at issue’ (Jäger 2004:194). If Jäger is right, Dretske is seriously embarrassed and must give something up. In this paper (...)
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  19. Nicholas Shackel (2005). The Form of the Benardete Dichotomy. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (2):397-417.
    Benardete presents a version of Zeno's dichotomy in which an infinite sequence of gods each intends to raise a barrier iff a traveller reaches the position where they intend to raise their barrier. In this paper, I demonstrate the abstract form of the Benardete Dichotomy. I show that the diagnosis based on that form can do philosophical work not done by earlier papers rejecting Priest's version of the Benardete Dichotomy, and that the diagnosis extends to a paradox not normally classified (...)
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  20. Nicholas Shackel (2005). The Vacuity of Postmodernist Methodology. Metaphilosophy 36 (3):295-320.
    Many of the philosophical doctrines purveyed by postmodernists have been roundly refuted, yet people continue to be taken in by the dishonest devices used in proselytizing for postmodernism. I exhibit, name, and analyse five favourite rhetorical manoeuvres: Troll's Truisms, Motte and Bailey Doctrines, Equivocating Fulcra, the Postmodernist Fox Trot, and Rankly Relativising Fields. Anyone familiar with postmodernist writing will recognise their pervasive hold on the dialectic of postmodernism and come to judge that dialectic as it ought to be judged.
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  21. Michael Clark & Nicholas Shackel (2003). Decision Theory, Symmetry and Causal Structure: Reply to Meacham and Weisberg. Mind 112 (448):691-701.
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  22. N. Shackel (2003). GILLIES, D.-Philosophical Theories of Probability. Philosophical Books 44 (1):92-94.
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  23. Michael Clark & Nicholas Shackel (2000). The Two-Envelope Paradox. Mind 109 (435):415--442.
    Previous claims to have resolved the two-envelope paradox have been premature. The paradoxical argument has been exposed as manifestly fallacious if there is an upper limit to the amount of money that may be put in an envelope; but the paradoxical cases which can be described if this limitation is removed do not involve mathematical error, nor can they be explained away in terms of the strangeness of infinity. Only by taking account of the partial sums of the infinite series (...)
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  24. Nicholas Shackel, The World as a Graph: Defending Graphical Structuralism.
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