Kant’s three Analogies of Experience, in his Critique of Pure Reason, represent a highly condensed attempt to establish the metaphysical foundations of Newtonian physics. His strategy is to show that the organization of experience in terms of a world of enduring substances undergoing mutual causal interaction is a necessary condition of the temporal ordering even of one’s own subjective states, and thus of coherent experience itself. In his Third Analogy—an examination of the necessary conditions of judgments of simultaneous existence—he argues (...) that certain conceptual presuppositions consistent with Newtonian physics are necessary to time-awareness. His argument, however, appears to be undermined by conventionalism in natural science generally, and by the conventionality of simultaneity in particular. In this paper I discuss Kant’s claims in light of contemporary relativity theory. I suggest that, while his project is obsolete in major respects, there may still be useful insights into time-awareness to be drawn from his work. (shrink)
The theorist who denies the objective reality of non-relational temporal properties, or ‘A-series’ determinations, must explain our experience of the passage of time. D.H. Mellor, a prominent denier of the objective reality of temporal passage, draws, in part, on Kant in offering a theory according to which the experience of temporal passage is the result of the projection of change in belief. But Mellor has missed some important points Kant has to make about time-awareness. It turns out that Kant's theory (...) of time-awareness also involves projection – but for him, the projection of temporal passage is necessary to any coherent experience at all, and for this reason events in the world cannot be represented except as exhibiting real tensed change. Consequently we cannot intelligibly suppose the world we know to be without the passage of time. This fact would permit a modest transcendental argument the conclusion of which is that we are entitled to describe the world in terms of temporal passage. (shrink)
The issue of time-awareness presents a critical challenge for empiricism: if temporal properties are not directly perceived, how do we become aware of them? A unique empiricist account of time-awareness suggested by Hume's comments on time in the Treatise avoids the problems characteristic of other empiricist accounts. Hume's theory, however, has some counter-intuitive consequences. The failure of empiricists to come up with a defensible theory of time-awareness lends prima facie support to a non-empiricist theory of ideas.
From a number of quarters have come attempts to answer some form of skepticism—about knowledge of the external world, freedom of the will, or moral reasons—by showing it to be performatively self-defeating. Examples of this strategy are subject to a number of criticisms, in particular the criticism that they fail to shift the burden of proof from the anti-skeptical position, and so fail to establish the epistemic entitlement they seek. To these approaches I contrast one way of understanding Kant’s core (...) anti-skeptical arguments in the Critique of Pure Reason. Kant’s goal is the more modest one of showing the applicability of the concepts of substance and cause to experience, against those who might call such application incoherent, or a category mistake. I explain why this goal makes Kant’s approach more promising than those of neo-Kantian practitioners of otherwise structurally-similar strategies. (shrink)
‘Performative’ transcendental arguments exploit the status of a subcategory of self-falsifying propositions in showing that some form of skepticism is unsustainable. The aim of this paper is to examine the relationship between performatively inconsistent propositions and transcendental arguments, and then to compare performative transcendental arguments to modest transcendental arguments that seek only to establish the indispensability of some belief or conceptual framework. Reconceptualizing transcendental arguments as performative helps focus the intended dilemma for the skeptic: performative transcendental arguments directly confront the (...) skeptic with the choice of abandoning either skepticism or some other deep theoretical commitment. Many philosophers, from Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas to Jaakko Hintikka, C.I. Lewis, and Bernard Lonergan, have claimed that some skeptical propositions regarding knowledge, reason, and/or morality can be shown to be self-defeating; that is to say, they have claimed that the very upholding of some skeptical position is in some way incompatible with the position being upheld, or with the implied, broader dialectical position of the skeptic in question. Statements or propositions alleged to have this characteristic also sometimes are called ‘self-falsifying,’ ‘self-refuting,’ ‘self-stultifying,’ ‘self-destructive,’ or ‘pointless.’ However, proponents of the strategy of showing skepticism to be self-defeating have not in general adequately distinguished between two types of self-defeating proposition: self-falsifying and self-stultifying. In the first part of this paper I distinguish between self-falsifying and self-stultifying propositions, and introduce the notion of performative self-falsification. In the second part I discuss classical transcendental arguments, ‘modest’ transcendental arguments, and objections to each. In the third part I introduce two types of transcendental argument—each labeled “performative”—corresponding to two types of performatively self-falsifying proposition, and I compare them to modest transcendental arguments. (shrink)
: Calls for ethics education for members of hospital ethics committees presume that the effects and benefits of such education are well-established. This is not the case. A review of the literature reveals that studies consistently have failed to uncover any significant effect of ethics education on the moral reasoning, moral competency, and/or moral development of medical professionals. The present paper discusses this negative result and describes the author's national study of the value priorities of members of hospital ethics committees. (...) This study discovered correlations between moral decision making and factors like age and type of institution where the committee operates. The results of this study also resemble those of previous studies in finding no correlation between ethics education and moral decision making. The author concludes that there is a need for more research on the effects of nonmoral personal, societal, and institutional factors on the moral reasoning of members of hospital ethics committees. Further, in the absence of any firm empirical basis, calls for ethics education for medical professionals and ethics committee members should be rethought. (shrink)
In this paper, I examine Leibniz’s account of the epistemic status of the Christian Mysteries in his “Preliminary Dissertation on the Conformity of Faith with Reason.” In it, the Mysteries are held to be true, yet also to be beyond human comprehension. This conjunction gives rise to a dilemma: how can the Mysteries bemeaningfully asserted if they are unintelligible? To answer this, Leibniz compares them to natural truths, which are demonstrable by God alone. To complicate matters, however, he suggests that (...) certain Mysteries have the status of truths of logic, or of mathematics; this raises a special problem in understanding his view of the epistemic status of such Mysteries for us. I offer a suggestion as to how he may have wanted us to think of the relationship between these Mysteries and our faculty of comprehension. I then employ my conclusions in explaining Leibniz’s answer to Bayle’s skepticism regarding the Mysteries, as well as in explaining his answer to the question as to how belief in the Mysteries can be rationally justified. (shrink)
Abstract The Kantian moral foundations of Nozickian libertarianism suggest that the claim that self?ownership grounds only negative rights to property should be rejected. The moral foundations of Nozick's libertarianism better support basing property rights on moral desert. It is neither incoherent nor implausible to say that need can be a basis for desert. By implication, the libertarian contention that persons ought to be respected as persons living self?shaping lives is inconsistent with the libertarian refusal to accept that claims of need (...) can sometimes outweigh claims to property. (shrink)