Marian David defends the correspondence theory of truth against the disquotational theory of truth, its current major rival. The correspondence theory asserts that truth is a philosophically rich and profound notion in need of serious explanation. Disquotationalists offer a radically deflationary account inspired by Tarski and propagated by Quine and others. They reject the correspondence theory, insist truth is anemic, and advance an "anti-theory" of truth that is essentially a collection of platitudes: "Snow is white" is true if and (...) only if snow is white; "Grass is green" is true if and only if grass is green. According to disquotationalists the only profound insight about truth is that it lacks profundity. David contrasts the correspondence theory with disquotationalism and then develops the latter position in rich detail--more than has been available in previous literature--to show its faults. He demonstrates that disquotationalism is not a tenable theory of truth, as it has too many absurd consequences. (shrink)
This paper aims to study the role of the social robot Probo in providing assistance to a therapist for robot assisted therapy (RAT) with autistic children. Children with autism have difficulties with social interaction and several studies indicate that they show preference toward interaction with objects, such as computers and robots, rather than with humans. In 1991, Carol Gray developed Social Stories, an intervention tool aimed to increase children's social skills. Social stories are short scenarios written or tailored for autistic (...) individuals to help them understand and behave appropriately in social situations. This study shows that, in specific situations, the social performance of autistic children improves when using the robot Probo, as a medium for social story telling, than when a human reader tells the stories. The robot tells Social Stories to teach ASD children how to react in situations like saying “hello“, saying “thank you“ and “sharing toys“. The robot has the capability of expressing emotions and attention via its facial expressions and its gaze. The paper discusses the use of Probo as an added-value therapeutic tool for social story telling and presents the first experimental results. Keywords: social robot; ASD children; social story; robot assisted therapy. (shrink)
Before a general cognitive model for recurrent complex visual hallucinations (RCVH) is accepted, there must be more research into the neuropsychological and cognitive characteristics of the various disorders in which they occur. Currently available data are insufficient to distinguish whether the similar phenomenology of RCVH across different disorders is in fact produced by a single or by multiple cognitive mechanisms.
Metaphysics is definitely back on the agenda of contemporary philosophy. It is a metaphysics in the full traditional sense, seeking to provide the means to gain knowledge that covers being as a whole, not just parts of it (such as the metaphysics of mind, the metaphysics of values, etc.). Oxford University Press published three books in 2011 and 2012 each of which spells out that ambition. The present review sums up the main topics covered in these books and offers some (...) comments. (shrink)
This contribution is a criticism of some points David Carr brings forward both in his 1991 book (Educating the Virtues) but even more so in his 1996 article in this journal (After Kohlberg: Some Implications of an Ethics of Virtue for the Theory of Moral Education and Development). With the help of a virtue approach Carr tries to solve the moral objectivism-moral relativism dilemma and the deontologism-consequentialism dilemma in ethics. I will argue that his attempt, though very interesting, suffers (...) from some serious flaws and that, either, Carr's position is much closer to a Kantian approach than Carr thinks, or Carr's position needs a good deal of clarification. (shrink)
I show the incompatibility of two theses: (a) to desire the truth of p amounts to believing a certain proposition about the value of p’s truth; (b) one cannot be said to desire the truth of p if one believes that p is true. Thesis (a), the Desire-As-Belief Thesis, has received much attention since the late 1980s. Thesis (b) is an epistemic variant of Socrates’ remark in the Symposium that one cannot desire what one already has. It turns out that (...) (a) and (b) cannot both be true if it is possible for there to exist an agent who has a desire initially, say the desire for the truth of p, and then expands the corpus of propositions she believes to include p. This result provides a new route to the denial of (a). (shrink)
An examination of Hull's claims about the nature of interactors, replicators and selection, with special attention to how the genetic material realizes the first two types, and a critique of Hull's attempt to apply the theory of natural selection to the explanation of scientific change, and in particular the succession of theories. I conclude that difficulties attending the molecular instantiation of Hull's theory are vastly increased when it comes to be applied to memes.
Peer review is a widely accepted instrument for raising the quality of science. Peer review limits the enormous unstructured influx of information and the sheer amount of dubious data, which in its absence would plunge science into chaos. In particular, peer review offers the benefit of eliminating papers that suffer from poor craftsmanship or methodological shortcomings, especially in the experimental sciences. However, we believe that peer review is not always appropriate for the evaluation of controversial hypothetical science. We argue that (...) the process of peer review can be prone to bias towards ideas that affirm the prior convictions of reviewers and against innovation and radical new ideas. Innovative hypotheses are thus highly vulnerable to being “filtered out” or made to accord with conventional wisdom by the peer review process. Consequently, having introduced peer review, the Elsevier journal Medical Hypotheses may be unable to continue its tradition as a radical journal allowing discussion of improbable or unconventional ideas. Hence we conclude by asking the publisher to consider re-introducing the system of editorial review to Medical Hypotheses. (shrink)
What kind of equality should we value and why? Current debate centres around whether distributive equality is valuable. However, it is not the only (potentially) morally significant form of equality. David Miller and T. M. Scanlon have emphasised the importance of social equality—a strongly egalitarian notion distinct from distributive equality, and which cannot be reduced to a concern for overall welfare or the welfare of the worst-off. However, as debate tends to focus on distribution, social equality has been neglected (...) and we do not have a clear understanding of what it is and why it might be valuable. This paper aims to address this gap. (shrink)
My research work title is “A Philosophical Study of the Concept of Mind (with special reference to Rene Descartes, David Hume and Gilbert Ryle).” In this study we have discussed three conceptions of mind presented by Rene Descartes, David Hume and Gilbert Ryle. All the three thinkers are related to different philosophical traditions known as Rationalism, Empiricism and Analytical Philosophy respectively. Each of these various approaches can be seen as at least partly successful, each provides answers to questions (...) regarded as especially pressing, each apparently solved certain problems. Notoriously, however, each leaves unanswered and unsolved a host of distinct problems as well. (shrink)
In “What Puzzling Pierre Does not Believe”, Lewis (, 412‐4) argues that the sentences (1) Pierre believes that London is pretty and (2) Pierre believes that London is not pretty both truly describe Kripke’s well‐known situation involving puzzling Pierre (). Lewis also argues that this situation is not one according to which Pierre believes either the proposition (actually) expressed by (3) London is pretty or the proposition (actually) expressed by (4) London is not pretty. These claims, Lewis suggests, provide a (...) starting point from which a correct resolution of Kripke’s puzzles about belief () can be developed. At the end of his paper (, p. 414‐7), Lewis considers and replies to a number of potential objections to his position. According to one of these, Lewis’s contentions regarding (1)‐(4) cannot all be true because ‘believes that’ and ‘believes the proposition that’ are synonymous. Although the objection Lewis considers is unsound and his response to it correct, a minor variant of that objection provides significant reason to be skeptical of his contentions. This variant, moreover, is not persuasively addressed by anything either Lewis or any other well‐known defender of this sort of view (such as Stalnaker ) has had to say on the matter. All of this is relevant, moreover, not 2 only when it comes to assessing Lewis’s contentions regarding (1)‐ (4), but also when it comes to drawing lessons from certain standard objections to the view that the propositional objects of belief and assertion are sets of metaphysically possible worlds. (shrink)
The concept of the self is a highly contested topic. Traditionally it belonged to speculative metaphysics. Almost every philosopher, whether Western or Indian, has tried to explore the nature of self. Generally, the self is taken as a substance which has permanent existence, which is eternal and non-specio-temporal. In some traditions, like the Hindu tradition, it is believed to take rebirth as the body perishes. Many Western philosophers also think that it is immortal. The nature of the self also has (...) then ethical implications. The views of David Hume and Gautama Buddha on the self, which I have chosen to discuss here, are similar. Though both belong to different traditions, both are skeptical of any permanent existence of self. This is not to say that one has borrowed from the other. For the nature and purpose of denial of the self in both the philosophers is different. So a comprehensive and comparative study of their views is very interesting. It is the intention of this article to analyze and compare the philosophical positions of Gautama and Hume on the self—a problem which was of central concern to both and which has since exercised a continuing fascination for philosophers, both of the East and the West. (shrink)
David Lewis claims that his theory of modality successfully reduces modal items to nonmodal items. This essay will clarify this claim and argue that it is true. This is largely an exercise within ‘Ludovician Polycosmology’: I hope to show that a certain intuitive resistance to the reduction and a set of related objections misunderstand the nature of the Ludovician project. But these results are of broad interest since they show that would-be reductionists have more formidable argumentative resources than is (...) often thought. Lewis’s reduction depends on a set of methodological commitments each of which is fairly plausible or at least currently popular, and none of which is particular to modality. The choice of which of these commitments to reject I leave to the discerning antireductionist. The essay proceeds as follows: §1 discusses reduction generally and one or two relevant puzzles; §2 discusses Lewis’s reduction in particular; the longest section, §3 replies to four objections. (shrink)
David Miller offers us a sophisticated account of how we can reconcile global obligations and duties to co?nationals. In this article I focus on four weaknesses with his account such as the following two. First, there remains considerable unclarity about the strength of the positive duties we have to non?nationals and how these measure up relative to other positive duties, such as the ones Miller believes we have to co?nationals to implement civil, political, or social rights. Second, just how (...) responsibilities for enacting our global commitments will be assigned still needs further development. A unifying theme of my criticisms concerns Miller?s account of how we are to mediate responsibilities to fellow?nationals and the partiality we may defensibly show co?nationals. In the final section I sketch an alternative way of conceptualizing our duties to fellow?nationals and duties to non?nationals, which can give more systematic advice about the partiality we may defensibly show co?nationals. (shrink)
One of the advantages of my account in the essay “Instantiation as Partial Identity” was capturing the contingency of instantiation—something David Armstrong gave up in his experiment with a similar view. What made the contingency possible for me was my own non-standard account of identity, complete with the apparatus of counts and aspects. The need remains to lift some obscurity from the account in order to display its virtues to greater advantage. To that end, I propose to respond to (...) those who have grappled with it in print. There are various criticisms by commentators: that it is rendered absurd by the transitivity of identity, that it makes instantiation necessary instead of contingent, that it is unclear what counts are, that aspects are simply tropes, that my view does not capture multiple location, that I make an unclear reference to a theory of composition as identity, that the account suffers from problems with polyadicity, and that it is not a realist account of universals after all. I give responses to these objections. (shrink)
In his most recent book, National Responsibility and Global Justice, David Miller presents an account of human rights grounded on the idea of basic human needs. Miller argues that his account can overcome what he regards as a central problem for human rights theory: the need to provide a ‘non-sectarian’ justification for human rights, one that does not rely on reasons that people from non-liberal societies should find objectionable. The list of human rights that Miller’s account generates is, however, (...) minimal when compared to those found in human rights documents, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights. This article argues that contrary to what Miller claims, his account is ‘sectarian’, since it relies on reasons that some non-liberals should find objectionable given their divergent values. It goes on to question whether ‘sectarianism’, as Miller defines it, is, in any case, a problem for human rights theory. The article concludes that Miller provides us with no reason to abandon commitment to a more extensive list of human rights. (shrink)
Argues that on an interpretation of the Enlightenment which emphasises its radical potential and importance for the development of democracy Catharine Macaulay should be recognised as a more centrally Enlightenment historian than David Hume.
This article is an exploration of David Hume's philosophy of custom and habit as a way of living with skepticism. For Hume, man is a habit-forming animal, and all politics and history take place within a history of custom and habit. This is not a bad thing: life without custom and habit would be a nightmare. Hume draws on the "new science" of thinkers such as Locke, Shaftesbury, Mandeville, Hutcheson, and Butler to foreground the importance of custom and habit. (...) His own contribution is a detailed exploration of philosophical psychology that brings out the role of habits of action such as politeness and manners and habits of thinking such as opinion and reasoning. Finally, life in accordance with customs and habits is not inherently conservative or quietist: there are endogenous and exogenous sources of change and progress in custom and habits. (shrink)
[David Charles] Aristotle, it appears, sometimes identifies well-being (eudaimonia) with one activity (intellectual contemplation), sometimes with several, including ethical virtue. I argue that this appearance is misleading. In the Nicomachean Ethics, intellectual contemplation is the central case of human well-being, but is not identical with it. Ethically virtuous activity is included in human well-being because it is an analogue of intellectual contemplation. This structure allows Aristotle to hold that while ethically virtuous activity is valuable in its own right, the (...) best life available for humans is centred around, but not wholly constituted by, intellectual contemplation. /// [Dominic Scott] In Nicomachean Ethics X 7-8, Aristotle distinguishes two kinds of eudaimonia, primary and secondary. The first corresponds to contemplation, the second to activity in accordance with moral virtue and practical reason. My task in this paper is to elucidate this distinction. Like Charles, I interpret it as one between paradigm and derivative cases; unlike him, I explain it in terms of similarity, not analogy. Furthermore, once the underlying nature of the distinction is understood, we can reconcile the claim that paradigm eudaimonia consists just in contemplation with a passage in the first book requiring eudaimonia to involve all intrinsic goods. (shrink)
David Braybrooke argues that meeting people’s needs ought to be the primary goal of social policy. But he then faces the problem of how to deal with the fact that our most pressing needs, needs to be kept alive with resource-draining medical technology, threaten to exhaust our resources for meeting all other needs. I consider several solutions to this problem, eventually suggesting that the need to be kept alive is no different in kind from needs to fulfill various projects, (...) and that needs may have a structure similar to rights, with people’s legitimate needs serving as constraints on each other’s entitlements to resources. This affords a set of axioms constraining possible needs. Further, if, as Braybrooke thinks, needs are created by communities approving projects, so that the means to prosecute the projects then come to count as needs, then communities are obliged to approve only projects that are co-feasible given the world’s finite resources. The result is that it can be legitimate not to funnel resources towards endless life-prolongation projects. (shrink)
In Thought as a System , best-selling author David Bohm takes as his subject the role of thought and knowledge at every level of human affairs, from our private reflections on personal identity to our collective efforts to fashion a tolerable civilization. Elaborating upon principles of the relationship between mind and matter first put forward in Wholeness and the Implicate Order , Professor Bohm rejects the notion that our thinking processes neutrally report on what is `out there' in an (...) objective world. Bohm carefully explores the manner in which thought actively participates in forming our perceptions, our sense of meaning and our daily actions. He suggests that collective thought and knowledge have become so automated that we are in large part controlled by them, with a subsequent loss of authenticity, freedom and order. In conversations with fifty seminar participants in Ojai, California, David Bohm offers a radical perspective on an underlying source of human conflict and inquires into the possibility of individual and collective transformation. (shrink)
[R. M. Sainsbury] Evans argued that most ordinary proper names were Russellian: to suppose that they have no bearer is to suppose that they have no meaning. The first part of this paper addresses Evans's arguments, and finds them wanting. Evans also claimed that the logical form of some negative existential sentences involves 'really' (e.g. 'Hamlet didn't really exist'). One might be tempted by the view, even if one did not accept its Russellian motivation. However, I suggest that Evans gives (...) no adequate account of 'really', and I point to unclarities in Wiggins's similar, but distinct, attempt to use 'really' in the logical form of true negative existentials. /// [David Wiggins] Evans was not wrong (I maintain) to say that the senses of genuine proper names invoke and require objects. Names in fiction or hypothesis mimic such names. Pace Evans, Sainsbury and free logicians, proper names are scopeless. (Evans's 'Julius' is not a name.) Names create a presumption of existential generalization. In sentences such as 'Vulcan does not really exist', that presumption is bracketed. The sentence specifies by reference to story or report a concept identical with Vulcan and declares it be really uninstantiated. (The sentence, which partakes of play, is a kind of palimpsest.) It is explained why this second level view of 'exists' is to be preferred. (shrink)