Timothy Williamson (2000) reckons that hardly any mental state is luminous, i.e. is such that if one were in it, then one would invariably be in a position to know that one was. This paper examines an argument he presents against the luminosity of feeling cold, which he claims generalizes to other phenomenal states, such as e.g. being in pain. As we shall see, the argument fails. However, our deliberations do yield two anti-luminosity results: a simple refutation of the (...) claim that one invariably knows whether one feels cold or not,1 and a counterexample to the luminosity of knowing—in effect, a counterexample to the (KK)- principle. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson (2000) reckons that hardly any mental state is luminous, i.e. is such that if one were in it, then one would invariably be in a position to know that one was. To this end he presents an argument against the luminosity of feeling cold— which he claims generalizes to other phenomenal states, such as e.g. being in pain. As we shall see, however, no fewer than four lines of argument for that conclusion can be extracted from Williamson’s remarks. (...) This is not to suggest that it is unclear which of these strategies is the one Williamson intends to present; but it is instructive to consider the others for the light they shed on the issue and on his own reasoning. Three of these strategies, including Williamson’s intended, fail with little hope of revival—so I shall argue. The fourth, which has escaped attention in the literature, is perhaps more promising, but I think it too can be resisted, and I sketch a possible line of attack. My aim here is not to defend the luminosity of phenomenal states per se— indeed, I am undecided about the matter—but, rather, to uncover the different strategies which emerge from Williamson’s discussion, and show that they fall short of refuting luminosity. (shrink)
In Knowledge and Its Limits Timothy Williamson argues against the luminosity of phenomenal states in general by way of arguing against the luminosity of feeling cold, that is, against the view that if one feels cold, one is at least in a position to know that one does. In this paper I consider four strategies that emerge from his discussion, and argue that none succeeds.
Abstract: Williamson argues that when one feels cold, one may not be in a position to know that one feels cold. He thinks this argument can be generalized to show that no mental states are such that when we are in them we are in a position to know that we are in them. I argue that his argument is a sorites argument in disguise because it relies on the implicit premise that warming up is gradual. Williamson claims that his (...) argument is not a sorites argument; I explain why he has not given us any reason to accept the claim. (shrink)
I investigate the way in which our conscious judgments can be a guide to our beliefs, a topic discussed by Gareth Evans, Richard Moran, Christopher Peacocke, and Alex Byrne, among others. I argue that our conscious judgments can give us a kind of justification to self-ascribe beliefs which is (i) distinctively first-personal, (ii) non-inferential, and (iii) fallible. I then defend my view from a challenge from "constitutivist" views in the epistemology of introspection, defended by philosophers such as Sydney Shoemaker, according (...) to which only our beliefs themselves give us justification to self-ascribe beliefs. (shrink)
The linchpin of Williamson (2000)'s radically externalist epistemological program is an argument for the claim that no non-trivial condition is luminous—that no non-trivial condition is such that whenever it obtains, one is in a position to know that it obtains. I argue that Williamson's anti-luminosity argument succeeds only if one assumes that, even in the limit of ideal reflection, the obtaining of the condition in question and one's beliefs about that condition can be radically disjoint from one another. However, (...) no self-respecting defender of the luminosity of the mental would ever make such an assumption. Thus Williamson can only secure his controversial claims in epistemology by taking for granted certain equally controversial claims in the philosophy of mind. What emerges is that the best bet for defending an internalist epistemology against Williamson's attack is to take there to be a tight, intimate connection between (to take one example) our experiences and our beliefs upon reflection about the obtaining of those experiences, or between (to take another example) the rationality of our beliefs and our beliefs upon reflection about the rationality of those beliefs. (shrink)
Beginning with the paradoxes of zombie twins, we present an argument that dualism is both true and false. We show that avoiding this contradiction is impossible. Our diagnosis is that consciousness itself engenders this contradiction by producing contradictory points of view. This result has a large effect on the realism/anti-realism debate, namely, it suggests that this debate is intractable, and furthermore, it explains why this debate is intractable. We close with some comments on what our results mean for metaphysics and (...) philosophy, in general. (shrink)
That believing truly as a matter of luck does not generally constitute knowing has become epistemic commonplace. Accounts of knowledge incorporating this anti-luck idea frequently rely on one or another of a safety or sensitivity condition. Sensitivity-based accounts of knowledge have a well-known problem with necessary truths, to wit, that any believed necessary truth trivially counts as knowledge on such accounts. In this paper, we argue that safety-based accounts similarly trivialize knowledge of necessary truths and that two ways of responding (...) to this problem for safety, issuing from work by Williamson and Pritchard, are of dubious success. (shrink)
I aim to clarify the relationship between the success of a theory and the truth of that theory. This has been a central issue in the debates between realists and anti-realists. Realists assume that success is a reliable indicator of truth, but the details about the respects in which success is a reliable indicator or test of truth have been largely left to our intuitions. Lewis (Synthese 129:371–380, 2001) provides a clear proposal of how success and truth might be connected, (...) comparing a test of success of our theories to medical tests with low rates of false positives and false negatives. But, contrary to what Lewis claims, I argue that it is not enough for the realist to undercut the claim that success is not a reliable indicator of truth. Rather, the realist must show that our current best theories are likely true. Further, I argue that tests in science are unlike medical tests in a number of important ways. (shrink)
A common perception of Spinoza casts him as one of the precursors, perhaps even founders, of modern humanism and Enlightenment thought. Given that in the twentieth century, humanism was commonly associated with the ideology of secularism and the politics of liberal democracies, and that Spinoza has been taken as voicing a “message of secularity” and as having provided “the psychology and ethics of a democratic soul” and “the decisive impulse to… modern republicanism which takes it bearings by the dignity of (...) every man,” it is easy to understand how this humanistic image developed. Spinoza’s deep interest in, and extensive discussion of, human nature may have contributed to the emergence of this image as well. In this paper, I will argue that this common perception of Spinoza is mistaken and that Spinoza was in fact the most radical anti-humanist among modern philosophers. Arguably, Spinoza rejects any notion of human dignity. He conceives of God’s - and not man’s - point of view as the only objective perspective through which one can know things adequately, and it is at least highly questionable whether he allows for any genuine notions of human autonomy or morality. The notions of ‘humanism’ and ‘anti-humanism’ have been discussed extensively -mainly among continental philosophers - since the end of World War II. Because these notions carry a variety of historical, ideological, and philosophical meanings, it is important to provide at the outset at least a rudimentary clarification of my use of these two terms. By ‘humanism’ I mean a view which (1) assigns a unique value to human beings among other things in nature, (2) stresses the primacy of the human perspective in understanding the nature of things, and (3) attempts to point out an essential property of humanity which justifies its elevated and unique status. This definition of philosophical humanism has only little in common with the historical notion of Renaissance humanism, and seems to match quite well the common understanding of philosophical humanism suggested by current philosophical dictionaries and encyclopedias. This notion of humanism should be understood in contrast to two competing positions. On the one hand, in contrast to the theocentric position that considers humanity to be radically dependent upon God, humanism affirms at least some degree of human independence. On the other hand, in contrast to the naturalist position which endorses the scientific examination of human beings just like any other objects in nature, humanists affirm the existence of a metaphysical and moral gulf between humanity and nature. This gulf assigns a special value to humanity and does not allow us to treat human beings like any other things in nature. For many humanists the nature/humanity gulf does not allow the application of the methods of natural sciences to the disciplines of the humanities. Humanism does not begin with modernity. In order to see how far back we can trace this position, we may recall Protagoras’ saying: “Man is the measure of all things, of things that are, that they are, and of things that are not, that they are not.” In modern philosophy, the humanistic position had regained dominant status since the Renaissance, and variants of this position were vigorously argued for by prominent thinkers such as Pico della Mirandola, Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Fichte, and finally, Hegel. In this paper, I will argue that Spinoza was a foe, and not a friend, of this tradition. I suggest that, in contrast to these humanist philosophers, Spinoza considers man as a marginal and limited being in nature, a being whose claims and presumptions far exceed its abilities. “To what length will the folly of the multitude not carry them?.... [T]hey imagine Nature to be so limited that they believe man to be his chief part.” Arguably, Spinoza locates the origin of our most fundamental metaphysical and ethical errors in a human hubris which not only tries to secure humanity an exceptional place in nature but also attempts to cast both God and nature in its own human image. (shrink)
Healthcare counts as a morally relevant good whose distribution should neither be left to the free market nor be simply imposed by governmental decisions without further justification. This problem is particularly prevalent in the current boom of anti-ageing medicine. While the public demand for medical interventions which promise a longer, healthier and more active and attractive life has been increasing, public healthcare systems usually do not cover these products and services, thus leaving their allocation to the mechanisms of supply and (...) demand on the free market. This situation raises the question on which basis the underlying preferences for and claims to a longer, healthier life should be evaluated. What makes anti-ageing medicine eligible for public funding? In this article, we discuss the role of anti-ageing medicine with regard to the scope and limits of public healthcare. We will first briefly sketch the basic problem of justifying a particular healthcare scheme within the framework of a modern liberal democracy, focusing on the challenge anti-ageing interventions pose in this regard. In the next section, we will present and discuss three possible solutions to the problem, essentialistic, transcendental, and procedural strategies of defining the scope of public healthcare. We will suggest a procedural solution adopting essentialistic and transcendental elements and discuss its theoretical and practical implications with regard to anti-ageing medicine. (shrink)
The most basic divide amongst analytic metaphysicians separates realists from anti-realists. By examining certain characteristic and problematic features of these two families of views, we uncover their underlying metametaphysicalorientations, which turn out to coincide. This shared philosophical picture that underlies both the realist and the anti-realist project we call the Modern Picture. It rests on a crucial distinction between reality as it is for us and reality as it is in itself. It is argued that this distinction indeed generates the (...) realism/anti-realism dichotomy, and is also responsible for the problematic aspects highlighted earlier. We conclude by sketching an alternative philosophical picture that rejects the distinction between reality as it is for us and reality as it is in itself, which we call the Aristotelian Picture, and consider whether it is able to avoid the issues to which the Modern Picture gives rise. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that the negative injunctions against certain ways of conceiving of the ethico-political that we can draw explicitly from the methodological strictures of phenomenology are also consistent with some of the core more positive dimensions of contemporary virtue ethics (especially at the more anti-theoretical end of the virtue ethical spectrum), and that central aspects of virtue ethics are consistent with most of the explicit reflections on ethical matters proffered by canonical phenomenologists.
Kant was the first great anti-Cartesian in epistemology and philosophy of mind. He criticised five central tenets of Cartesianism and developed sophisticated alternatives to them. His transcendental analysis of the necessary a priori conditions for the very possibility of self-conscious human experience invokes externalism about justification and proves externalism about mental content. Semantic concern with the unity of the proposition—required for propositionally structured awareness and self-awareness—is central to Kant’s account of the unity of any cognitive judgment. The perceptual ‘binding problem’ (...) is central to Kant’s account of the unity of the object in perception. This paper outlines Kant’s development and justification of his a rationalist account of our active intellect and its roles in perceptual consciousness and in rational judgment, including our consciousness of our rational freedom, all through a radically innovative transcendental inquiry into the necessary a priori conditions for us to be conscious at all. Kant’s anti-Cartesianism is a major philosophical breakthrough far surpassing contemporary anti-Cartesian efforts. It behoves us to give Kant his due and avail ourselves of his profound insights into the nature of human mindedness. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson has provided damaging counterexamples to Robert Nozick’s sensitivity principle. The examples are based on Williamson’s anti-luminosity arguments, and they show how knowledge requires a margin for error that appears to be incompatible with sensitivity. I explain how Nozick can rescue sensitivity from Williamson’s counterexamples by appeal to a specific conception of the methods by which an agent forms a belief. I also defend the proposed conception of methods against Williamson’s criticisms.
This is an unpublished talk written for a meeting of French philosophers. The paper describes the evolution versus creationism/intelligent design controversy in the U.S. A number of philosophers and scientists try to resolve this issue by sharply distinguishing the realm of science versus any talk of the supernatural. These pro-evolutionists often appeal to science's essential commitment to "methodological naturalism," the view that scientific methodology is essentially committed to naturalism and cannot meaningfully entertain hypotheses concerning the supernatural. I criticize methodological naturalism, (...) suggesting that such an appeal is misguided and counterproductive. I suggest an alternative view of the supernatural consistent with scientific knowledge. (shrink)
David Benatar argues that being brought into existence is always a net harm and never a benefit. I disagree. I argue that if you bring someone into existence who lives a life worth living (LWL), then you have not all things considered wronged her. Lives are worth living if they are high in various objective goods and low in objective bads. These lives constitute a net benefit. In contrast, lives worth avoiding (LWA) constitute a net harm. Lives worth avoiding are (...) net high in objective bads and low in objective goods. It is the prospect of a LWA that gives us good reason to not bring someone into existence. Happily, many lives are not worth avoiding. Contra Benatar, many are indeed worth living. Even if we grant Benatar his controversial asymmetry thesis, we have no reason to think that coming into existence is always a net harm. (shrink)
Timothy Williamson’s anti luminosity argument has received considerable attention. Escaping unnoticed, though, is a strikingly similar argument from David Hume. This paper highlights some of the arresting parallels between Williamson’s reasoning and Hume’s that will allow us to appreciate more deeply the plausibility of Williamson’s reasoning and to understand how, following Hume, we can extend this reasoning to undermine the “luminosity” of simple necessary truths. More broadly the parallels help us to identify a common skeptical predicament underlying both arguments, (...) which we shall call “the quarantine problem”. The quarantine problem expresses a deep skepticism about achieving any exalted epistemic state. Further, the perspective gained by the quarantine problem allows us to easily categorize existing responses to Williamson’s anti luminosity argument and to observe the deficiencies of those responses. In sum, the quarantine problem reveals the deeply fallibilistic nature of whatever knowledge we may possess. (shrink)
Open future is incompatible with realism about possible worlds. Since realistically conceived (concrete or abstract) possible worlds are maximal in the sense that they contain/represent the full history of a possible spacetime, past and future included, if such a world is actual now, the future is fully settled now, which rules out openness. The kind of metaphysical indeterminacy required for open future is incompatible with the kind of maximality which is built into the concept of possible worlds. The paper discusses (...) various modal realist responses and argues that they provide ersatz openness only, or they lead to incoherence, or they render the resulting theory inadequate as a theory of modality. The paper also considers various accounts of the open future, including rejection of bivalence, supervaluationism, and the ‘thin red line’ view (TRL), and claims that a version of (TRL) can avoid the incompatibility problem, but only at the cost of deflating the notion of openness. (shrink)
Joshua Glasgow argues against the existence of races. His experimental philosophy asks subjects questions involving racial categorization to discover the ordinary concept of race at work in their judgments. The results show conflicting information about the concept of race, and Glasgow concludes that the ordinary concept of race is inconsistent. I conclude, rather, that Glasgow’s results fit perfectly fine with a social-kind view of races as real social entities. He also presents thought experiments to show that social-kind views give the (...) wrong results, but intuitions might differ on which results are the wrong ones, and social-kind views can resist the implications he derives from these cases. Widespread false beliefs about a concept or category need not undermine anything’s existence, and a sufficiently context-sensitive approach to races will allow for competing criteria for race-membership in different contexts without contradictory criteria in any one context. Glasgow’s arguments are therefore unsuccessful. (shrink)
This article constructs a critical historical, political and theoretical analysis of the essence of Fascist criminal law discourse in terms of the violence that shaped and characterised it. The article examines the significance of violence in key declarations about the role and purpose of criminal law by Alfredo Rocco, Fascist Minister of Justice and leading ideologue, in his principal speech on the final draft of the 1930 Italian Penal Code. It is grounded on the premise that criminal law is particularly (...) significant for understanding the relationship between State power and individuals, and so what was distinctive about Fascist thinking in this regard. The article analyses Rocco’s declarations as a discourse in order to highlight their contextual foundations, construction and ideological connections. It argues that the core theme of that discourse is violence, which has three principal dimensions: a close historical and rhetorical connection with war, a focus on repressive and intimidatory force, and a paramount concern with subordinating individuals to State interests. The article then uses this analysis to develop a theoretical reading of the nexus between criminal law and violence in Fascism, in terms of its foundations and reversal of ends and means. The article thus provides an original perspective on Fascism and criminal law, which it argues is important for critical engagement with criminal law discourse in our democracies today. (shrink)
For nearly thirty years, there has been a consensus (at least in English-speaking countries) that reductionism is a mistake and that there are autonomous special sciences. This consensus has been based on an argument from multiple realizability. But Jaegwon Kim has argued persuasively that the multiple realizability argument is flawed.1 I will sketch the recent history of the debate, arguing that much --but not all--of the anti-reductionist consensus survives Kim's critique. This paper was originally titled "Anti-Reductionism Strikes Back", but in (...) the course of writing the paper, I came to think that the concepts used in the debate would not serve either position very well. (shrink)
This paper compares Kant's transcendental idealism with three main groups of contemporary anti-realism, associated with Wittgenstein, Putnam, and Dummett, respectively. The kind of anti-realism associated with Wittgenstein has it that there is no deep sense in which our concepts are answerable to reality. Associated with Putnam is the rejection of four main ideas: theoryindependent reality, the idea of a uniquely true theory, a correspondence theory of truth, and bivalence. While there are superficial similarities between both views and Kant's, I find (...) more significant differences. Dummettian anti-realism, too, clearly differs from Kant's position: Kant believes in verification-transcendent reality, and transcendental idealism is not a theory of meaning or truth. However, I argue that part of the Dummettian position is extremely useful for understanding part of Kant's position - his idealism about the appearances of things. I argue that Kant's idealism about appearances can be expressed as the rejection of experiencetranscendent reality with respect to appearances. (shrink)
The basic question of ontology is “What exists?”. The basic question of metaontology is: are there objective answers to the basic question of ontology? Here ontological realists say yes, and ontological anti-realists say no. (Compare: The basic question of ethics is “What is right?”. The basic question of metaethics is: are there objective answers to the basic question of ethics? Here moral realists say yes, and moral anti-realists say no.) For example, the ontologist may ask: Do numbers exist? The Platonist (...) says yes, and the nominalist says no. The metaontologist may ask: is there an objective fact of the matter about whether numbers exist? The ontological realist says yes, and the ontological anti-realist says no. Likewise, the ontologist may ask: Given two distinct entities, when does a mereological sum of those entities exist? The universalist says always, while the nihilist says never. The metaontologist may ask: is there an objective fact of the matter about whether the mereological sum of two distinct entities exists? The ontological realist says yes, and the ontological anti-realist says no. Ontological realism is often traced to Quine (1948), who held that we can determine what exists by seeing which entities are endorsed by our best scientiﬁc theory of the world. In recent years, the practice of ontology has often presupposed an ever-stronger ontological realism, and strong versions of ontological realism have received explicit statements by Fine (this volume), Sider (2001; this volume), van Inwagen (1998; this volume), and others. (shrink)
In this book, Balaguer demonstrates that there are no good arguments for or against mathematical platonism. He does this by establishing that both platonism and anti-platonism are defensible views. Introducing a form of platonism ("full-blooded platonism") that solves all problems traditionally associated with the view, he proceeds to defend anti-platonism (in particular, mathematical fictionalism) against various attacks, most notably the Quine-Putnam indispensability attack. He concludes by arguing that it is not simply that we do not currently have any good argument (...) for or against platonism, but that we could never have such an argument and, indeed, that there is no fact of the matter as to whether platonism is correct. (shrink)
One thing nearly all epistemologists agree upon is that Gettier cases are decisive counterexamples to the tripartite analysis of knowledge; whatever else is true of knowledge, it is not merely belief that is both justified and true. They now agree that knowledge is not justified true belief because this is consistent with there being too much luck present in the cases, and that knowledge excludes such luck. This is to endorse what has become known as the 'anti-luck platitude'. <br /><br (...) />But what if generations of philosophers have been mistaken about this, blinded at least partially by a deeply entrenched professional bias? There has been another, albeit minority, response to Gettier: to deny that the cases are counterexamples at all. <br /><br />Stephen Hetherington, a principal and vocal proponent of this view, advances what he calls the 'Knowing Luckily Proposal'. If Hetherington is correct, this would call for a major re-evaluation and re-orientation of post-Gettier analytic epistemology, since much of it assumes the anti-luck platitude both in elucidating the concept of knowledge, and in the application of such accounts to central philosophical problems. It is therefore imperative that the Knowing Luckily Proposal be considered and evaluated in detail. <br /><br />In this paper I critically assess the Knowing Luckily Proposal. I argue that while it draws our attention to certain important features of knowledge, ultimately it fails, and the anti-luck platitude emerges unscathed. Whatever else is true of knowledge, therefore, it is non-lucky true belief. For a proposition to count as knowledge, we cannot arrive at its truth accidentally or for the wrong reason. (shrink)
This paper surveys attempts in the recent literature to offer a modal condition on knowledge as a way of resolving the problem of scepticism. In particular, safety-based and sensitivity-based theories of knowledge are considered in detail, along with the anti-sceptical prospects of an explicitly anti-luck epistemology.
In his magnum opus Being and Event, Alain Badiou identifies ontology with mathematics and uses a mathematical formalization of ontological discourse to generate an account of extra-ontological 'truth-events'. Informed by deconstructive critiques of the metaphysical ontologies of presence, Badiou establishes an anti-phenomenological conception of ontological presentation. Presentation's internal structure is that of an anti-phenomenon: presence's necessarily empty and insubstantial contrary. But the result is that Being and Event is riven by a fundamental methodological idealism. Badiou cannot secure the connection he (...) wishes to establish between the formal discursive structure of mathematical ontology and extra-discursive reality. The decisive link between being and event, i.e. between Badiou's purely formal conception of ontological presentation and the extra-ontological reality of the event, is precluded by the very structure of the concept of presentation which is central to Badiou's argument. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that anti-reductionist moral realism still has trouble explaining supervenience. My main target here will be Russ Shafer-Landau's attempt to explain the supervenience of the moral on the natural in terms of the constitution of moral property instantiations by natural property instantiations. First, though, I discuss a recent challenge to the very idea of using supervenience as a dialectical weapon posed by Nicholas Sturgeon. With a suitably formulated supervenience thesis in hand, I try to show how (...) Shafer-Landau's proffered strategy to explain supervenience not only fails to explain supervenience, but that it also has a number of implausible consequences. The more general lesson is that strategies which may work well for explaining supervenience in the philosophy of mind and other areas cannot be assumed to carry over successfully to the metaethical context. We should therefore treat so-called `companions in guilt' arguments in this area of philosophy with considerable skepticism. Key Words: expressivism moral realism non-naturalism reductionism supervenience trope. (shrink)
Duncan Pritchard has, in the years following his (2005) defence of a safety-based account of knowledge in Epistemic Luck, abjured his (2005) view that knowledge can be analysed exclusively in terms of a modal safety condition. He has since (Pritchard in Synthese 158:277–297, 2007; J Philosophic Res 34:33–45, 2009a, 2010) opted for an account according to which two distinct conditions function with equal importance and weight within an analysis of knowledge: an anti-luck condition (safety) and an ability condition-the latter being (...) a condition aimed at preserving what Pritchard now takes to be a fundamental insight about knowledge: that it arises from cognitive ability (Greco 2010; Sosa 2007, 2009). Pritchard calls his new view anti-luck virtue epistemology (ALVE). A key premise in Pritchard’s argument for ALVE is what I call the independence thesis; the thesis that satisfying neither the anti-luck condition nor the ability condition entails that the other is satisfied. Pritchard’s argument for the independence thesis relies crucially upon the case he makes for thinking that cognitive achievements are compatible with knowledge-undermining environmental luck—that is, the sort of luck widely thought to undermine knowledge in standard barn facade cases. In the first part of this paper, I outline the key steps in Pritchard’s argument for anti-luck virtue epistemology and highlight how it is that the compatibility of cognitive achievement and knowledge- undermining environmental luck is indispensible to the argument’s success. The second part of this paper aims to show that this compatibility premise crucial to Pritchard’s argument is incorrect. (shrink)
I examine the link between extensionality principles of classical mereology and the anti-symmetry of parthood. Varzi's most recent defence of extensionality depends crucially on assuming anti-symmetry. I examine the notions of proper parthood, weak supplementation and non-well-foundedness. By rejecting anti-symmetry, the anti-extensionalist has a unified, independently grounded response to Varzi's arguments. I give a formal construction of a non-extensional mereology in which anti-symmetry fails. If the notion of 'mereological equivalence' is made explicit, this non-anti-symmetric mereology recaptures all of the structure (...) of classical mereology. (shrink)
Here is one argument against realism. (1) Realists are committed to the classical rules for negation. But (2) legitimate rules of inference must conserve evidence. And (3) the classical rules for negation do not conserve evidence. So (4) realism is wrong. Most realists reject 2. But it has recently been argued that if we allow denied sentences as premisses and conclusions in inferences we will be able to reject 3. And this new argument against 3 generates a new response to (...) the anti-realist argument: keep 1 and 2, avoiding 4 by rejecting 3. My aim in this paper is to see how much work in the fight against anti-realism this new response can really do. I argue that there is a powerful objection to the response: 2 is in tension with the claim that denied sentences can be premisses and conclusions in inferences. But I show that, even given this objection, the new response has an important role to play. (shrink)
In recent years the 'zombie argument' has come to occupy a central role in the case against physicalist views of consciousness, in large part because of the powerful advocacy it has received from David Chalmers.1 In this paper I seek to neutralize it by showing that a parallel argument can be run for physicalism, an argument turning on the conceivability of what I shall call anti-zombies. I shall argue that the result is a stand-off, and that the zombie argument offers (...) no independent reason to reject physicalism. (shrink)
Intellectualist theories attempt to assimilate know how to propositional knowledge and, in so doing, fail to properly explain the close relation know how bears to action. I develop here an anti-intellectualist theory that is warranted, I argue, because it best accounts for the difference between know how and mere “armchair knowledge.” Know how is a mental state characterized by a certain world-to-mind direction of fit (though it is non-motivational) and attendant functional role. It is essential of know how, but not (...) propositional knowledge, that it makes possible performance errors and has the functional role of guiding action. The theory is attractive, in part, because it allows for propositional, non-propositional and perhaps even non-representational varieties of know how. (shrink)
This essay argues that film as a medium breaks through the clearly delineated boundaries between realism and anti-realism that have been established by film theory. Film itself is basically indifferent to each. As an alternative to both, I put forward a thesis of indeterminism, which argues that films engender a unique event of sight and sound that does not have to be perceived to be a real event or an illusion of such an event.
In this paper, I do three things. First, I offer an overview of an anti-luck epistemology, as set out in my book, Epistemic Luck (Oxford University Press, Oxford 2005). Second, I attempt to meet some of the main criticisms that one might level against the key theses that I propose in this work. And finally, third, I sketch some of the ways in which the strategy of anti-luck epistemology can be developed in new directions.
It might be expected that it would suffice for the entry for “moral anti-realism” to contain only some links to other entries in this encyclopedia. It could contain a link to “moral realism” and stipulate the negation of the view there described. Alternatively, it could have links to the entries “anti-realism” and “morality” and could stipulate the conjunction of the materials contained therein. The fact that neither of these approaches would be adequate—and, more strikingly, that following the two procedures would (...) yield substantively non-equivalent results—reveals the contentious and unsettled nature of the topic. (shrink)
Realism and anti-realism about a domain of thought are metaphysical theses that involve the natures of the truthmakers in that domain and the truthmaking relation that is operant in the domain. Truthmaker theory is not exclusive territory for realists: anti-realist views are also best understood in terms of how they understand truthmakers and truthmaking. In particular, I explore the possibility of projectivist truthmaking, and show how it makes sense of quasi-realism. In addition to critically examining some extant accounts of the (...) relationship between realism and truthmaking, I offer an account that best captures the nature of the various realism debates. (shrink)
Ame Naess, John Rodman, George Sessions, and others, designated herein as ecosophers, propose an egalitarian anti-anthropocentric biocentrism as a basis for a new environmental ethic. I outline their “hands-off-nature” position and show it to be based on setting man apart. The ecosophic position is thus neither egalitarian nor fully biocentric. A fully egalitarian biocentric ethic would place no more restrictions on the behavior of human beings than on the behavior of any other animals. Uncontrolled human behavior might lead to the (...) destruction ofthe environment and thus to the extinction of human beings. I thus conclude that human interest in survival is the best ground on which to argue for an ecological balance which is good both for human beings and for the whole biological community. (shrink)
In 1967, after a talk Deleuze gave to the Society of French Philosophy, Ferdinand Alquiéé expressed concern during the question and answer session that perhaps Deleuze was relying too heavily upon science and not giving adequate attention to questions and problems that Alquiéé took to be distinctively philosophical. Deleuze responded by agreeing with Alquiéé; moreover, he argued that his primary interest was precisely in the metaphysics science needs rather than in the science philosophy needs. This metaphysics, Deleuze argues, is to (...) be done ‘‘in the style of Whitehead’’ rather than the style of Kant, and in developing this metaphysics Deleuze draws heavily on Spinoza. The present essay examines this Deleuzian-Spinozist metaphysics done in the style of Whitehead, the ‘‘metaphysics science needs’’, drawing on the writings of David Hume and Bruno Latour in the process. This discussion will in turn enable us to situate Deleuze's metaphysics in relation to contemporary debates concerning speculative realism and correlationism, and especially Quentin Meillassoux's critique of the latter. Our conclusion will be that the kind of metaphysics Deleuze pursues is neither correlationist nor straightforwardly realist, but rather charts a course between realism and anti-realism. (shrink)
This paper explores the tension between pragmatism and utopia, especially in the concept of "realistic utopianism". It argues that historically, the pragmatic and gradualist rejection of utopia has been anti-utopian in effect, notably in the case of Popper. More recent attempts to argue in favour of "realistic utopianism" or its equivalent, by writers such as Wallerstein and Rorty are also profoundly anti-utopian, despite Rorty's commitment to "social hope". They co-opt the terminology of utopia to positions that are antagonistic to radical (...) alterity. But this is not a necessary response to the utopia/pragmatism tension: Unger, who is explicitly opposed to utopia, in fact proffers a more sympathetic resolution based on the merits of vision, social improvization and collective learning. These may lie closer to the core of the utopian project as a vehicle for the education of desire than Unger himself recognizes. (shrink)
Anti-individualists claim that concepts are individuated with an eye to purely external facts about a subject's environment about which she may be ignorant or mistaken. This paper offers a novel reason for thinking that anti-individualistic concepts are an ineliminable part of commonsense psychology. Our commitment to anti-individualism, I argue, is ultimately grounded in a rational epistemic agent's commitment to refining her own representational practices in the light of new and surprising information about her environment. Since anti-individualism is an implicit part (...) of responsible epistemic practices, we cannot abandon it without compromising our own epistemic agency. The story I tell about the regulation of one's own representational practices yields a new account of the identity conditions for anti-individualistic concepts. (shrink)
Arguments in favor of anti-representationalism in cognitive science often suffer from a lack of attention to detail. The purpose of this paper is to fill in the gaps in these arguments, and in so doing show that at least one form of anti- representationalism is potentially viable. After giving a teleological definition of representation and applying it to a few models that have inspired anti- representationalist claims, I argue that anti-representationalism must be divided into two distinct theses, one ontological, one (...) epistemological. Given the assumptions that define the debate, I give reason to think that the ontological thesis is false. I then argue that the epistemological thesis might, in the end, turn out to be true, despite a potentially serious difficulty. Along the way, there will be a brief detour to discuss a controversy from early twentieth century physics. (shrink)
I argue that clarity about essence provides the tools both to isolate a distinct concept of art and to see why anti-essentialism is a plausible, though incomplete, doctrine about it. While this concept is not the only concept currently expressed by our word ‘art’, it is an interesting, and might be an important, one. One of the challenges it poses to conceptual analysis is to explain what it is to be better than being good of a thing's kind, where this (...) extra-goodness is neither a trivial fact nor simply a matter of being a good instance of two different kinds of thing. While anti-essentialism seems to be right about what types of analysis will not work for it, this result only deepens the question of what its proper analysis is. (shrink)
There is currently much concern over the use of pharmaceuticals and other biomedical techniques to enhance athletic performance—a practice we might refer to as doping. Many justifications of anti-doping efforts claim that doping involves a serious moral transgression. In this article, I review a number of arguments in support of that claim, but show that they are not conclusive, suggesting that we do not have good reasons for thinking that doping is wrong.
This article revisits the ethical and political questions raised by feminist debates over essentialism, the belief that there are properties essential to women and which all women share. Feminists widespread rejection of essentialism has threatened to undermine feminist politics. Re-evaluating two responses to this problemstrategic essentialism and Iris Marion Youngs idea that women are an internally diverse seriesI argue that both unsatisfactorily retain essentialism as a descriptive claim about the social reality of womens lives. I argue instead that women have (...) a genealogy: women always acquire femininity by appropriating and reworking existing cultural interpretations of femininity, so that all women become situated within a history of overlapping chains of interpretation. Because all women are located within this complex history, they are identifiable as belonging to a determinate social group, despite sharing no common understanding or experience of femininity. The idea that women have a genealogy thus reconciles anti-essentialism with feminist politics. (shrink)
It is often presupposed that an anti-individualist about representational mental states must choose between two accounts of no-reference cases. One option is said to be an ‘illusion of thought’ version according to which the subject in a no-reference case fails to think a first-order thought but rather has the illusion of having one. The other is a ‘descriptive’ version according to which one thinks an empty thought via a description. While this presupposition is not uncommon, it rarely surfaces in an (...) explicit manner. Often, it is visible only when a theorist argues directly from the falsity of one of the two views to the truth of the other. However, Jessica Brown’s recent work on anti-individualism clearly illustrates the presupposition. In contention with Brown’s and others presupposition, arguments for two conclusions about the nature of anti-individualism are set forth. First, the choice between the illusion and descriptive version of anti-individualism is a dilemma. Each version of anti-individualism is prone to problems. Second, the choice is a false dilemma. There is another, less problematic, anti-individualistic account of reference failure. (shrink)
This paper argues that it is scientific realists who should be most concerned about the issue of Platonism and anti-Platonism in mathematics. If one is merely interested in accounting for the practice of pure mathematics, it is unlikely that a story about the ontology of mathematical theories will be essential to such an account. The question of mathematical ontology comes to the fore, however, once one considers our scientific theories. Given that those theories include amongst their laws assertions that imply (...) the existence of mathematical objects, scientific realism, when construed as a claim about the truth or approximate truth of our scientific theories, implies mathematical Platonism. However, a standard argument for scientific realism, the 'no miracles' argument, falls short of establishing mathematical Platonism. As a result, this argument cannot establish scientific realism as it is usually defined, but only some weaker position. Scientific 'realists' should therefore either redefine their position as a claim about the existence of unobservable physical objects, or alternatively look for an argument for their position that does establish mathematical Platonism. (shrink)
Anti-luck epistemology is an approach to analyzing knowledge that takes as a starting point the widely-held assumption that knowledge must exclude luck. Call this the anti-luck platitude. As Duncan Pritchard (2005) has suggested, there are three stages constituent of anti-luck epistemology, each which specifies a different philosophical requirement: these stages call for us to first give an account of luck; second, specify the sense in which knowledge is incompatible with luck; and finally, show what conditions must be satisfied in order (...) to block the kind of luck with which knowledge was argued to be incompatible. What Iâll show here is that the modal account of luck offers a plausible story at the first stage and leads naturally to equally plausible lines to take at the second and third stages, at which a safety condition on knowledge is squarely motivated. There are, however, recent challengesâadvanced by Jonathan Kvanvig (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 77: 272â281, 2008); Kelly Becker (2007); and Jennifer Lackey (Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86(2):255â267, 2008), among othersâto the plausibility of the safety-based anti-luck project Iâve sketched here at each of its three stages of development. Once Iâve made precise the challenges, Iâll show why none implies that we abandon the commitments of the safety-based anti-luck project at any of its stages. What we should conclude, then, is that a safety-condition on knowledge is motivated by independently defensible accounts of (1) what luck is; and (2) just how knowledge should be thought incompatible with it. (shrink)
Possible-worlds talk obscures, rather than clariﬁes, the debate about haecceitism. In this paper I distinguish haecceitism and anti-haecceitism from other doctrines that sometimes go under those names. Then I defend the claim that there are no non-tendentious deﬁnitions of ‘haecceitism’ and ‘anti-haecceitism’ using possible-worlds talk. That is, any deﬁnition of ‘haecceitism’ using possible-worlds talk depends, for its correctness, on a substantive theory of the nature of possible worlds. This explains why using possible-worlds talk when discussing haecceitism causes confusion: if the (...) parties to the discussion presuppose different theories of the nature of possible worlds, then they will mean diﬀerent things by ‘haecceitism’. (shrink)
It is plausible that the universe exists: a thing such that absolutely everything is a part of it. It is also plausible that singular, structured propositions exist: propositions that literally have individuals as parts. Furthermore, it is plausible that for each thing, there is a singular, structured proposition that has it as a part. Finally, it is plausible that parthood is a partial ordering: reflexive, transitive, and anti-symmetric. These plausible claims cannot all be correct. We canvass some costs of denying (...) each claim and conclude that parthood is not a partial ordering. Provided that the relevant entities exist, parthood is not anti-symmetric and proper parthood is neither asymmetric nor transitive. (shrink)
This paper examines the relevance of Wittgenstein’s On Certainty to the contemporary debate regarding the problem of radical scepticism. In particular, it considers two accounts in the recent literature which have seen in Wittgenstein’s remarks on “hinge propositions” in On Certainty the basis for a primarily epistemological anti-sceptical thesis—viz., the inferential contextualism offered by Michael Williams and the ‘unearned warrant’ thesis defended by Crispin Wright. Both positions are shown to be problematic, both as interpretations of Wittgenstein and as anti-sceptical theses. (...) Indeed, it is argued that on a reading of On Certainty which has Wittgenstein advancing a primarily epistemological thesis, there is in fact strong evidence to suggest that Wittgenstein thought that no epistemic response to the sceptic was available—at best, it seems, only a pragmatic antisceptical thesis is on offer. Such a conclusion is not without import to the present debate regarding radical scepticism, however, since it poses a general challenge for how the sceptical argument is conceived in the contemporary literature. (shrink)
The value problem -- Unpacking the value problem -- The swamping problem -- fundamental and non-fundamental epistemic goods -- The relevance of epistemic value monism -- Responding to the swamping problem I : the practical response -- Responding to the swamping problem II : the monistic response -- Responding to the swamping problem III : the pluralist response -- Robust virtue epistemology -- Knowledge and achievement -- Interlude : is robust virtue epistemology a reductive theory of knowledge? -- Achievement without (...) achievement -- Back to the value problem -- Contra virtue epistemology -- Two master intuitions about knowledge -- Anti-luck virtue epistemology -- Interlude : is anti-luck virtue epistemology a reductive theory of knowledge? -- Diagnosing the structure of knowledge -- Back to the value problem -- The final value of achievements -- Understanding -- Understanding and epistemic luck -- Understanding and cognitive achievement -- Back to the value problem -- Two potential implications of the distinctive value of understanding thesis -- The traditional analytical project and the central tension -- Knowledge, evidence, and reasons -- Concepts versus phenomena -- The way ahead -- Perceptual-recognitional abilities -- Broad and narrow competence -- Avoiding reduction -- Perpetual-recognitional abilities -- Broad and narrow competence -- Avoiding reduction -- Perceptual knowledge and justified belief -- Closure and doxastic responsibility -- Knowledge from indicators -- Recognitional abilities again -- Detached standing knowledge -- Back to knowledge from indicators -- Taking stock -- Why knowledge matters -- Approaching the epistemology of testimony -- Telling and informing -- Acquiring true beliefs and acquiring knowledge through being told -- Access to facts about knowledge -- The modest route -- Fool's knowledge -- The distinctive value of knowledge -- Fool's justification -- Arguing from illusion -- The regress of justifications -- Transparency and knowledge -- Transparency and entitlement -- On trying to do without transparency -- Transparency and luminosity -- Non-sensible knowledge -- Self-knowledge -- Non-sensible knowledge of action -- The two dimensions -- The distinctive value of knowledge of action -- Non-observational knowledge -- Practical knowledge and intention -- Practical knowledge and direction of fit. (shrink)
This paper is about the Problem of Order, which is basically the problem how to account for both the distinctness of facts like a’s preceding b and b’s preceding a, and the identity of facts like a’s preceding b and b’s succeeding a. It has been shown that the Standard View fails to account for the second part and is therefore to be replaced. One of the contenders is Anti-Positionalism. As has recently been pointed out, however, Anti-Positionalism falls prey to (...) a regress argument which is to prove its failure. In the paper we spell out this worry, show that the worry is a serious one, and distinguish four possible strategies for Anti-Positionalism to deal with it. (shrink)
I have argued that Wittgenstein's treatment of dreaming involves a kind of anti-realism about the past: what makes "I dreamed p " true is, roughly, that I wake with the feeling or impression of having dreamed p . Richard Scheer raises three objections. First, that the texts do not support my interpretation. Second, that the anti-realist view of dreaming does not make sense, so cannot be Wittgenstein's view. Third, that the anti-realist view leaves it a mystery why someone who reports (...) having dreamed such-and-such is inclined to report what she does. The Reply defends my reading of Wittgenstein against these objections. (shrink)
Motivational internalism about moral judgments is the plausible view that accepting a moral judgment is necessarily connected to motivation motivation. However, it conflicts with the Humean theory that motives must be constituted by desires. Simple versions of internalism run into problems with people who do not desire to do what they believe right. This has long been urged by David Brink. Hence, many internalists have adopted more subtle defeasible views, on which only rational agents will have a desire to act. (...) I will argue that more complex versions run into problems with self-effacing values of the sort Parfit highlights in another context. Such values can only be attained indirectly. After proposing a general account of motivation suited to the internalist thesis, I argue that Anti-Humeanism is better suited to accommodating the internalist insight. (shrink)
The anti-realist argument from underconsideration focuses on the fact that, when scientists evaluate theories, they only ever consider a subset of the theories that can account for the available data. As a result, when scientists judge one theory to be superior to competitor theories, they are not warranted in drawing the conclusion that the superior theory is likely true with respect to what it says about unobservable entities and processes. I defend the argument from underconsideration from the objections of Peter (...) Lipton. I argue that the inconsistency that Lipton claims to find in the argument vanishes once we understand what the anti-realist means when she claims that scientists are reliable. I also argue that collapsing the distinction between relative and absolute evaluations, as Lipton recommends, has its costs. Finally, I briefly examine Richard Boyd's influential defence of realism. (shrink)
This paper argues that William Hasker's 'A new anti-Molinist argument' offers a fascinating but ultimately unsuccessful new instalment in his continuing campaign to discredit the picture of providence based on the theory of middle knowledge. It is first shown that Hasker's argument, though suffering from a seemingly irreparable logical gap, does nicely highlight a significant (and hitherto unduly underemphasized) point of contention between Molinists and anti-Molinists -- the question whether or not Molinists are committed to viewing counterfactuals of creaturely freedom (...) as part of the history of the world. Hasker's argument that they are so committed is shown to be lacking, for that argument depends upon a premise against which several contemporary Molinists have already presented independent arguments. Furthermore, the premise is not one which, on reflection, many traditional Christians could easily accept. Hence, Hasker's argument fails. It may remind us that some of the things Molinists are led to say are surprising, but it by no means shows that those surprising consequences make the view unworthy of our allegiance. (shrink)
The work of Kripke, Putnam, Kaplan, and others initiated a tradition in philosophy that has come to be known as anti-descriptivism. I argue that when properly interpreted, Wilfrid Sellars is a staunch anti-descriptivist. Not only does he accept most of the conclusions drawn by the more famous anti-descriptivists, he goes beyond their critiques to reject the fundamental tenant of descriptivism—that understanding a linguistic expression consists in mentally grasping its meaning and associating that meaning with the expression. I show that Sellars’ (...) alternative accounts of language and the mind provide novel justifications for the anti-descriptivists’ conclusions. Finally, I present what I take to be a Sellarsian analysis of an important anti-descriptivist issue: the relation between metaphysical modal notions (e.g., possibility) and epistemic modal notions (e.g., conceivability). The account I present involves extension of the strategy he uses to explain both the relation between physical object concepts (e.g., whiteness) and sensation concepts (e.g., the appearance of whiteness), and the relation between concepts that apply to linguistic activity (e.g., sentential meaning) and those that apply to conceptual activity (e.g., thought content). (shrink)
[Abstract: Anti-realism – the denial that reality exists apart from our conceptions of it – is rampant, not just among Postmodernists and other literati, but also among many of the leading spokesmen of orthodox quantum theory – from Born, Bohr, and Heisenberg to Wheeler and Wigner. Undoubtedly they've done good physics. Why, then, do they indulge in bad metaphysics? This paper offers some answers.].
This article examines a somewhat neglected argument for the existence of God which appeals to the divine perspective as a way of reconciling the conflicting claims of realism and anti-realism. Six representative examples are set out (Berkeley, Ferrier, T. H. Green, Josiah Royce, Gordon Clark and Michael Dummett), reasons are considered why this argument has received less attention than it might, and a brief sketch given of the most promising way in which it might be developed.
The central premise of Michael Dummett's global argument for anti-realism is the thesis that a speaker's grasp of the meaning of a declarative, indexical-free sentence must be manifested in her uses of that sentence. This enigmatic thesis has been the subject of a great deal of discussion, and something of a consensus has emerged about its content and justification. The received view is that the manifestation thesis expresses a behaviorist and reductive theory of meaning, essentially in agreement with Quine's view (...) of language, and motivated by worries about the epistemology of communication. In the present paper I begin by arguing that this standard interpretation of the manifestation thesis is neither particularly faithful to Dummett's writings nor philosophically compelling. I then continue by reconstructing, from Dummett's texts, an account of the manifestation thesis, and of its justification, that differ sharply from the received view. On my reading, the thesis is motivated not epistemologically, but conceptually. I argue that connections among our conceptions of meaning, assertion, and justification lead to a conclusion about the metaphysics of meaning: we cannot form a clearly coherent conception of how two speakers can attach different meanings to a sentence without at the same time differing in what they count as justifying assertions made with that sentence. I conclude with some suggestions about how Dummett's argument for global anti-realism should be understood, given my account of the manifestation thesis. (shrink)
The article begins by distinguishing a number of theses which, in the past, have sometimes been lumped together under the heading of 'anti-realism'. One of the theses is that there is something wrong with truth-conditional theories of meaning (what a truth-conditional theory of meaning is a matter discussed at some length), another is what I take to be the central thesis of anti-realism, that all truths are knowable. Several writers on the subject, such as Wright and Prawitz, have defended the (...) latter thesis while jettisoning the former. I argue that this position is exactly the wrong way around. Given the 'meaning is use' principle, which is also called the 'manifestation requirement', a very powerful case can be made that true theory of meaning cannot be truth-conditional. But I argue that, given the current state of our logical knowledge, there is no good reason for concluding from this that a true theory of meaning must be of the 'verificationist' type, as Dummett seems to think, and still less for thinking that anti-realism follows. I end by examining theories of meaning against Dummett's criticisms. (shrink)
I first provide an analysis of Joel Feinberg’s anti-paternalism in terms of invalidation of reasons. Invalidation is the blocking of reasons from influencing the moral status of actions, in this case the blocking of personal good reasons from supporting liberty-limiting actions. Invalidation is shown to be distinct from moral side constraints and lexical ordering of values and reasons. I then go on to argue that anti-paternalism as invalidation is morally unreasonable on at least four grounds, none of which presuppose that (...) people can be mistaken about their own good: First, the doctrine entails that we should sometimes allow people to unintentionally severely harm or kill themselves though we could easily stop them. Second, it entails that we should sometimes allow perfectly informed and rational people to risk the lives of themselves and others, though they are in perfect agreement with us on what reasons we have to stop them for their own good. Third, the doctrine leaves unexplained why we may benevolently coerce less competent but substantially autonomous people, such as young teens, but not adults. Last, it entails that there are peculiar jumps in justifiability between very similar actions. I conclude that as liberals we should reject anti-paternalism and focus our efforts on explicating important liberal values, thereby showing why liberty reasons sometimes override strong personal good reasons, though never by making them invalid. (shrink)
“Philosophical perspectivism” is surely one of Nietzsche's most important insights regarding the limits of human knowledge. However, the perspectivist thesis combined with a minimal realist metaphysical position produces what Brian Leiter calls the 'Received View': an epistemologically incoherent misinterpretation of Nietzsche which pervades the secondary literature. In order to salvage the thesis of perspectivism, Leiter argues that we must commit Nietzsche to an anti-realist metaphysical position. I argue that Leiter's proposed solution is (1) epistemically weak, and (2) inconsistent with much (...) of Nietzsche's views on truth, knowledge and the psychological make-up of human beings. I argue that we need to abandon the scheme/content distinction on which both the Received View and Leiter's anti-realist construal of perspectivism are predicated and instead construe perspectives as environments of power. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that Friedrich Nietzsche’s concept of self-overcoming has been largely misinterpreted in the philosophy of education journals. The misinterpretation partially stems from a misconstruction of Nietzsche’s perspectivism, and leads to a conception of self-overcoming that is inconsistent with Nietzsche’s educational ideals. To show this, I examine some of the prominent features of the so-called “debate” of the 1980s surrounding Nietzsche’s conception of self-overcoming. I then offer an alternative conception that is more consistent with Nietzsche’s thought, and (...) provides a more nuanced understanding of Nietzsche’s “anti-democratic” pedagogy. Ultimately, I argue that while Nietzsche’s educational philosophy is not egalitarian, it can be effectively utilized in “democratic” classrooms, assuming his concept of self-overcoming is properly construed. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against the received view that the anti-nativist arguments of Book I of Locke’s Essay conclusively challenge nativism. I begin by reconstructing the chief argument of Book I and its corollary arguments. I call attention to their dependence on (what I label) “the Awareness Principle”, viz., the view that there are no ideas in the mind of which the mind either isn’t currently aware or hasn’t been aware in the past. I then argue that the arguments’ (...) dependence on this principle is question begging on two counts. Unless this principle is defended, Locke’s arguments beg the question against Descartes and Leibniz because their nativism implies the denial of the Awareness Principle. And even when Locke defended the principle, his arguments remain question begging because they presuppose the empiricism they aim to prove. The disclosure of the question-begging status of these arguments debunks a seemingly powerful way of attacking nativism. (shrink)
Ruben Berrios Queen’s University Belfast Anti-realism and Aesthetic Cognition Abstract At the core of the debate between scientific realism and anti-realism is the question of the relation between scientific theory and the world. The realist possesses a mimetic conception of the relation between theory and reality. For the realist, scientific theories represent reality. The anti-realist, in contrast, seeks to understand the relations between theory and world in non-mimetic terms. We will examine Cartwright’s simulacrum account of explanation in order to illuminate (...) the anti-realist position. Science consists of phenomenological and theoretical laws. The former are concerned with appearances, or those phenomena that can be directly observed; the latter involve the unobservable reality that is alleged to underlie appearances, and are capable only of indirect confirmation. Phenomenological laws are said to be descriptive, whilst theoretical laws are understood as explanatory. Cartwright is concerned with the theoretical. She claims that the standard realist account of the explanatory efficacy of theoretical laws is faulty. The explanatory power of theoretical laws consists in their ability to provide an explanation of physical phenomena. According to Cartwright, the realist claims that laws explain phenomena by providing an abstract description of them, in terms of their micro-structural features, that is alleged to be true. On this view, explanatory power is entirely dependent on descriptive adequacy. As phenomenological laws describe appearances, so theoretical laws describe the fundamental reality that governs appearances. Cartwright rejects the preceding view and in its place proposes a simulacrum account of explanation. According to Cartwright, the explanatory power of theoretical laws is related not to descriptive adequacy, but rather to the construction of adequate models. To explain a phenomenon is to construct a model which best or most adequately accommodates the phenomenon to a theory. The model will consist of various posited objects that serve to explain the phenomena in terms that are consistent with a set of theoretical laws. Cartwright claims that theoretical laws are true of, or describe, the objects of the model. The objects of the model, however, are not descriptive of reality. They are simulacra. They have, that is, the form or appearance of things, without possessing their substance or proper qualities. In light of the foregoing account we can summarise the distinction between scientific realism and anti-realism as follows. The realist claims that theoretical laws literally represent real objects. The anti-realist claims that laws represent objects of a model that are simulacra of reality. Anti-realism has an aesthetic dimension. The movement from realism to anti-realism is also the movement from the mimetic conception of the scientist as holding a mirror to nature to the constructionist view of the scientist as engaging with nature through invention. There is a lot of the artist in the anti-realist’s view of the scientist. This is true for Cartwright as well as, for example, Van Fraassen in his doctrine of constructive empiricism. It would appear, then, that the philosophy of science has absorbed some concepts that are ordinarily housed in aesthetics. And it has done so profitably. The aim of this paper is to reverse the direction of disciplinary influence. Can art, in relation to its status as a cognitive enterprise, be illuminated by scientific anti-realism? I will argue that it can. In an unexpected reference to the Nicomachean Ethics, Cartwright draws a suggestive parallel between theoretical laws and general moral principles, on the one hand, and physical phenomena and everyday moral conduct, on the other hand. If we add to this the claim that a central component of art’s value is cognitive, then we have the basic materials with which to flesh out a broadly anti-realist view of art. In the production of art, artists can construct models that mediate between everyday ethical phenomena and general ethical tendencies. These models reveal the ways in which there are implicit consistencies or inconsistencies, conflicts or congruences and so forth, between the phenomena and the tendencies. On this basis art can contribute to the reflective understanding of ethical life. This constitutes to a large degree art’s status as a cognitive enterprise. To apprehend art cognitively as artist or critic is to engage in aesthetic cognition. (shrink)
Abstract Not much scholarly work is needed in order to stumble across many passages where Edmund Husserl seems to advocate an anti-realist attitude towards the natural sciences. This tendency, however, is not well-received within the secondary literature. While some commentators criticize Husserl for his alleged scientific anti-realism, others argue that Husserl's position is much more realist than the first impression indicates. It is against this background that I want to argue for the following theses: a) The basic outlook of Husserl's (...) epistemology as well as his more substantial comments regarding the natural sciences indeed result in a (sophisticated version of) scientific anti-realism which bears certain resemblances to Bas van Fraassen's constructive empiricism; b) This scientific anti-realism can be defended against the two most common objections raised in the secondary literature; c) It is only by means of this sophisticated version of scientific anti-realism that phenomenology can circumvent the problem of ?scientific objectivism? (shrink)
This article attempts to motivate a new approach to anti-realism (or nominalism) in the philosophy of mathematics. I will explore the strongest challenges to anti-realism, based on sympathetic interpretations of our intuitions that appear to support realism. I will argue that the current anti-realistic philosophies have not yet met these challenges, and that is why they cannot convince realists. Then, I will introduce a research project for a new, truly naturalistic, and completely scientific approach to philosophy of mathematics. It belongs (...) to anti-realism, but can meet those challenges and can perhaps convince some realists, at least those who are also naturalists. (shrink)
Strawson's philosophical attitude towards scepticism is frequently thought to have undergone a significant shift from the “strong” or “robust” employment of transcendental arguments in Individuals to a more “modest” understanding of the efficacy of such arguments in Skepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties. I argue that this interpretation is based upon a misunderstanding of the function of transcendental arguments in Strawson's earlier works. Examining the continuity of Strawson's modest naturalistic approach to scepticism can offer some insight as to the continuing overestimation (...) of the anti-sceptical efficacy of transcendental arguments. (shrink)
In German Idealism and the Jew , Michael Mack uncovers the deep roots of anti-Semitism in the German philosophical tradition. While many have read German anti-Semitism as a reaction against Enlightenment philosophy, Mack instead contends that the redefinition of the Jews as irrational, oriental Others forms the very cornerstone of German idealism, including Kant's conception of universal reason. Offering the first analytical account of the connection between anti-Semitism and philosophy, Mack begins his exploration by showing how the fundamental thinkers in (...) the German idealist tradition--Kant, Hegel, and, through them, Feuerbach and Wagner--argued that the human world should perform and enact the promises held out by a conception of an otherworldly heaven. But their respective philosophies all ran aground on the belief that the worldly proved incapable of transforming itself into this otherworldly ideal. To reconcile this incommensurability, Mack argues, philosophers created a construction of Jews as symbolic of the "worldliness" that hindered the development of a body politic and that served as a foil to Kantian autonomy and rationality. In the second part, Mack examines how Moses Mendelssohn, Heinrich Heine, Franz Rosenzweig, and Freud, among others, grappled with being both German and Jewish. Each thinker accepted the philosophies of Kant and Hegel, in varying degrees, while simultaneously critiquing anti-Semitism in order to develop the modern Jewish notion of what it meant to be enlightened--a concept that differed substantially from that of Kant, Hegel, Feuerbach, and Wagner. By speaking the unspoken in German philosophy, this book profoundly reshapes our understanding of it. (shrink)
Responding to criticisms raised by Christopher Norris, this paper defends an anti-relativist reading of the work of both Davidson and Heidegger arguing that that there are important lessons to be learnt from their example - one can thus be an anti-relativist (as well as a certain sort of realist) without giving up on Davidson or on Heidegger.
The paper considers Paul Natorp's Kantian reading of Plato's theory of ideas, as developed in his monumental work, Platos Ideenlehre, eine Einführung in den Idealismus (1903, 1921). Central to Natrop's reading are, I argue, the following two claims: (1) Plato's ideas are laws, not things; and (2) Plato's theory of ideas in the first instance a theory about the possibility and nature of thought - in particular cognitive and indeed scientific or explanatory thought - and only as a consequence is (...) it a theory about the nature of reality. Natrop thus argues that Plato's theory of ideas is at its heart a transcendental theory, and that Plato's metaphysics is built on this basis. The paper considers these claims - and their textual basis in Plato - in some detail, and attempts an initial evaluation of their plausibility as a reading of Plato. I am on the whole sympathetic to Natorp's reading, though a proper assessment goes beyond the present paper. The wider interest of this idealist or anti-realist reading of Plato ought to be obvious, especially in view of the commonly accepted assumption these days that both Plato and Aristotle, and indeed the Greeks in general, took realism entirely for granted (see e.g. M. Burnyeat). Natorp argues that this is true of Aristotle, but quite untrue of Plato. But he is quite clear that the idealism he ascribes to Plato is not Berkeleyan or metaphysical idealism, but a certain kind of transcendental or epistemological idealism. Natorp, however, is no uncritical follower of Kant, and the version of trascendental idealism that he ascribes to Plato is, I argue, very different from Kant's. (shrink)
For the anti-realist, the truth about a subject's past thoughts and attitudes is determined by what he is subsequently disposed to judge about them. The argument for an anti-realist interpretation of Wittgenstein's view of past-tense statements seems plausible in three cases: dreams, calculating in the head, and thinking. Wittgenstein is indeed an anti-realist about dreaming. His account of calculating in the head suggests anti-realism about the past, but turns out to be essentially realistic. He does not endorse general anti-realism about (...) past thoughts; but his treatment does in some cases involve elements of anti-realism, unacceptable in some instances but possibly correct in others. (shrink)
In recent years the cognitive science community has witnessed the rise of a new, dynamical approach to cognition. This approach entails a framework in which cognition and behavior are taken to result from complex dynamical interactions between brain, body, and environment. The advent of the dynamical approach is grounded in a dissatisfaction with the classical computational view of cognition. A particularly strong claim has been that cognitive systems do not rely on internal representations and computations. Focusing on this claim, we (...) take as a starting point a question recently raised by Cliff and Noble: " if evolution did produce a design that used internal representations, how would we recognize it?" (Knowledge-based vision and simple visual machines, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 352 , 1165-1175, 1997). We will argue that cognitive science lacks a proper operationalization of the notion of representation, and therefore is unable to fruitfully discuss whether a particular system has representations or not. A basic method to detect representations in a physical system, grounded in isomorphism, turns out to be quite unconstrained. We will look at a practical example of this problem by examining the debate on whether or not van Gelder's (What might cognition be, if not computation? Journal of Philosophy, 92 , 345-381, 1995) controversial example of the Watt Governor is representational. We will conclude that cognitive science, as of yet, has no empirically applicable means to answer Cliff and Noble's question unequivocally. This makes the recent representationalism vs. anti-representationalism debate a debate for the sake of appearance. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss the viability of the claim that at least some forms of moral theory are harmful for sound moral thought and practice. This claim was put forward by e.g. Elisabeth Anscombe ( 1981 ( 1958 )) and by Annette Baier, Peter Winch, D.Z Phillips and Bernard Williams in the 1970’s–1980’s. To this day aspects of it have found resonance in both post-Wittgensteinian and virtue ethical quarters. The criticism has on one hand contributed to a substantial change (...) and broadening of the scope of analytic moral philosophy. On the other hand it is, at least in its most strongly anti-theoretical formulations, now broadly considered outdated and—to the extent that it is still defended—insensitive to the changes that have occurred within the field in the last 20–30 years. The task of this paper is to relocate the anti-theoretical critique into the field of analytic ethics today. (shrink)
According to anti-atomism, we represent color properties (e.g., red) in virtue of representing color relations (e.g., redder than). I motivate anti-atomism with a puzzle involving a series of pairwise indistinguishable chips. I then develop two versions of anti-atomism.
During the last decade Jessica Brown has been one of the main participants in the on-going debate over the compatibility of anti-individualism and self-knowledge. It is therefore of great interest that she is now publishing a book examining the various epistemological consequences of anti-individualism. The book is divided into three sections. The first discusses the question of whether a subject can have privileged access to her own thoughts, even if the content of her thoughts is construed anti-individualistically. This section contains (...) a detailed and useful discussion not only of how we are to understand privileged access, but also of epistemological issues of more general import, such as the connection between knowledge and reliability. The second section focuses on various aspects of the problem of anti-individualism and reasoning, including an extensive discussion of the relation between anti-individualism and a Fregean account of content. The final section discusses the so-called reductio argument against compatibilism (i.e. the view that anti-individualism is compatible with a priori knowledge of one’s own thoughts), according to which compatibilism implies that we can have a priori knowledge of certain facts about the world that, intuitively, are not knowable that way. The book is very clearly written and structured. Readers unfamiliar with the debate will get a good sense of its broad contours and the various positions taken. Brown starts out by distinguishing different forms of anti-individualism. This is very helpful since it is quite clear that the term has come to be rather carelessly used, as if it referred to one particular thesis, whereas in fact a number of loosely related positions are labeled ‘antiindividualist’. At the outset she distinguishes three familiar anti-individualist theses: natural kind anti-individualism, social anti-individualism, and singular anti-individualism. These.. (shrink)
College cheating represents a major ethical problem facing students and educators, especially in colleges of business. The current study surveys 666 business students in three universities to examine potential determinants of cheating perceptions. Anti-intellectualism refers to a student’s negative view of the value and importance of intellectual pursuits and critical thinking. Academic self-efficacy refers to a student’s belief in one’s ability to accomplish an academic task. As hypothesized, students high in anti-intellectualism attitudes and those with low academic self-efficacy were least (...) likely to perceive college cheating as unethical. Considering that college cheating has been found as a predictor of workplace cheating, the results urge business instructors to reduce anti-intellectualism among students and to encourage them to put forth their best efforts. The results also serve employers by focusing attention on these two psychological variables during the hiring and promotion processes. (shrink)
It is often claimed that anti-realists are compelled to reject the inference of the knowability paradox, that there are no unknown truths. I call those anti-realists who feel so compelled ‘faint-hearted’, and argue in turn that anti-realists should affirm this inference, if it is to be consistent. A major part of my strategy in defending anti-realism is to formulate an anti-realist definition of truth according to which a statement is true only if it is verified by someone, at some time. (...) I also liberalize what is meant by a verification to allow for indirect forms of verification. From this vantage point, I examine a key objection to anti-realism, that it is committed to the necessary existence of minds, and reject a response to this problem set forth by Michael Hand. In turn I provide a more successful anti-realist response to the necessary minds problem that incorporates what I call an ‘agential’ view of verification. I conclude by considering what intellectual cost there is to being an anti-realist in the sense I am advocating. (shrink)
Lee Braver: A thing of this world: A history of continental anti-realism Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-10 DOI 10.1007/s11007-011-9210-9 Authors Paul Livingston, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA Journal Continental Philosophy Review Online ISSN 1573-1103 Print ISSN 1387-2842.
An argument is given showing that, on the assumptions of Molinism, human beings must bring about the truth of the counterfactuals of freedom that govern their actions. But, it is claimed, it is impossible for humans to do this, and so Molinism is involved in a contradiction. The Molinist must maintain, on the contrary, that we can indeed bring about the truth of counterfactuals of freedom about us. This question turns out to depend on whether the counterfactuals of freedom are, (...) or are entailed by, part of the causal history of the world. A further argument is given that these counterfactuals are entailed by events intrinsic to the world's history. If this is so, then we cannot bring about the truth of these counterfactuals; the anti-Molinist argument succeeds, and Molinism is refuted. (shrink)
After sketching an argument for radical anti-realism that does not appeal to human limitations but polynomial-time computability in its definition of feasibility, I revisit an argument by Wittgenstein on the surveyability of proofs, and then examine the consequences of its application to the notion of canonical proof in contemporary proof-theoretical-semantics.
According to contextualism, the truth-conditions of knowledge attributions depend on features of the attributor's context. Contextualists take their view to be supported by cases in which the intuitive correctness of knowledge attributions depends on the attributor's context. Williamson offers a complex invariantist account of such cases which appeals to two elements, psychological bias and a failure of luminosity. He provides independent reasons for thinking that contextualist cases are characterized by psychological bias and a failure of luminosity, and argues that some (...) of our intuitions about the cases are explained by the former factor and some by the latter. I argue that psychological bias is the more fundamental of these elements. I show how, by itself, psychological bias can explain all the intuitions concerning contextualist cases. Further, it gives the best account of why contextualist cases are characterized by a failure of luminosity. (shrink)
William Child has said that Wittgenstein is an anti-realist with respect to a person's dreams, recent thoughts that he has consciously entertained and other things. I discuss Wittgenstein's comments about these matters in order to show that they do not commit him to an anti-realist view or a realist view. He wished to discredit the idea that when a person reports his dream or his thoughts, or past intentions, the person is reading off the contents of his mind or memory. (...) Reporting what one dreamt or recently thought is not like reporting what one has just read. The language is different, and the criterion of truth is different. The anti-realist is able to explain why the reports of thoughts, for instance, are "guaranteed" to be true (PI II, 222) by stipulating that the character and existence of the past thought is constituted by an inclination to assert that one had that past thought so the assertion could not be false. This could not be Wittgenstein's view. What does "guarantee" the truth of such an assertion is the fact that the person himself is the principle authority on what he dreamt, thought, and intended, something which "stands fast" for us. I next consider Crispin Wright's account of Wittgenstein's ideas about intentions and point out that his assumption that person always makes a judgement as to whether his action conforms to his intention is clearly false. And he is wrong in attributing to Wittgenstein the idea that an intention does not have a determinate content prior to its author's judgement about whether the action conforms to the intention, an idea that is obscure. If this were accurate, it would be a mystery why we do anything, or, at least, why our actions ever conform to our intentions. (shrink)
Vanguard anti-narrativist Galen Strawson declares personal memory unimportant for self-constitution. But what if lapses of personal memory are sustained by a morally reprehensible amnesia about historical events, as happens in the work of W.G. Sebald? The importance of memory cannot be downplayed in such cases. Nevertheless, contrary to expectations, a concern for memory needn’t ally one with the narrativist position. Recovery of historical and personal memory results in self-dissolution and not self-unity or understanding in Sebald’s characters. In the end, Sebald (...) shows how memory can be significant, even imperative, within a deeply anti-narrativist outlook on the self, memory, and history. (shrink)
In their paper, “I Can’t Believe I’m Stupid,” Adam Elga and Andy Egan introduce a notion of anti-expertise and argue that it is never rational to believe oneself to be an anti-expert. I wish to deny the claim that it is never rational for agents like us to ascribe anti-expertise to ourselves by describing cases where self-ascribed anti-expertise makes real life agents more rational.
Quentin Meillassoux has recently leveled a controversial attack on critical philosophy and the transcendental turn through his concept of correlationism. This critique is motivated by the attempt to move away from a philosophy of human finitude towards a speculative materialism. In this paper I argue that Meillassoux?s understanding of correlationism does not adequately depict the critical turn, especially in regards to the distinction between the epistemological problem of realism and the problem of materialism. I attempt to show that by reading (...) the critical turn as anti-epistemological one can think of its turn away from things themselves towards relation and mediation in ways that are not necessarily against either science or materialism. (shrink)
Famously, Michael Dummett argues that considerations concerning the role of language in communication lead to the rejection of classical logic in favor of intuitionistic logic. Potentially, this results in massive revisions of established mathematics. Recently, Neil Tennant (“The law of excluded middle is synthetic a priori, if valid”, Philosophical Topics 24 (1996), 205-229) suggested that a Dummettian anti-realist can accept the law of excluded middle as a synthetic, a priori principle grounded on a metaphysical principle of determinacy. This article shows (...) that the for the anti-realist, the law of excluded middle entails that humans have wildly implausible abilities. The proposed synthesis between anti-realism and classical mathematics thus fails. (shrink)
Dummettian anti-realism repudiates the realist's notion of verification-transcendent truth. Perhaps the most crucial element in the Dummettian attack on realist truth is the critique of so-called realist semantics, which assigns verification-transcendent truth-conditions as the meanings of (some) sentences. The Dummettian critique charges that realist semantics cannot serve as an adequate theory of meaning for a natural language, and that, consequently, the realist conception of truth must be rejected as well. In arguing for this, Dummett and his followers have appealed to (...) a certain conception of linguistic knowledge. This paper examines closely the appeal to speakers' knowledge of linguistic meaning, its force and limitations. (shrink)
Sanford Goldberg argues that a proper account of the communication of knowledge through speech has anti-individualistic implications for both epistemology and the philosophy of mind and language. In Part 1 he offers a novel argument for anti-individualism about mind and language, the view that the contents of one's thoughts and the meanings of one's words depend for their individuation on one's social and natural environment. In Part 2 he discusses the epistemic dimension of knowledge communication, arguing that the epistemic characteristics (...) of communication-based beliefs depend on features of the cognitive and linguistic acts of the subject's social peers. In acknowledging an ineliminable social dimension to mind, language, and the epistemic categories of knowledge, justification, and rationality, his book develops fundamental links between externalism in the philosophy of mind and language, on the one hand, and externalism is epistemology, on the other. (shrink)
: For quite some time now there has been an ongoing debate whether authoritative self-knowledge is compatible with anti-individualism.1 One influential line of argument against compatibilism is due to Paul Boghossian (1998). I argue that Boghossian misconstrues what the anti-individualist really is committed to. This defence of compatibilism is elaborated by showing how the Twin Earth thought experiment is meant to speak in favour of anti-individualism. Partly this will show that Boghossian is wrong in his denial that empirical background knowledge (...) is imported into the Twin Earth experiment. The main points argued are that Boghossian fails to realize, both, (1) that anti-individualism does not involve concept-individuation in terms of reference, and (2) that anti-individualism assumes a core of representational success. In effect, these two points constitute an entirely new way to defend compatibilism, a way that seems to have gone unnoticed in the literature. (shrink)