Many philosophers believe that truth is grounded: True propositions depend for their truth on the world. Some philosophers believe that truth’s grounding has implications for our ontology of time. If truth is grounded, then truth supervenes on being. But if truth supervenes on being, then presentism is false since, on presentism, e.g., that there were dinosaurs fails to supervene on the whole of being plus the instantiation pattern of properties and relations. Call this the grounding argument against presentism. Many presentists (...) claim that the grounding argument fails because, despite appearances, supervenience is compatible with presentism. In this paper, I claim that the grounding argument fails because, despite appearances, truth’s grounding gives the presentist no compelling reason to adopt the sort of supervenience principle at work in the grounding argument. I begin by giving two precisifications of the grounding principle: truthmaking and supervenience. In Sect. 2, I give the grounding argument against presentism. In Sect. 3, I argue that we should distinguish between eternalist and presentist notions of grounding; once this distinction is in hand, the grounding argument is undercut. In Sect. 4, I show how the presentist’s notion of grounding leads to presentist-friendly truthmaking and supervenience principles. In Sect. 5, I address some potential objections. (shrink)
Philosophy of Science is a mid-level text for students with some grounding in philosophy. It introduces the questions that drive enquiry in the philosophy of science, and aims to educate readers in the main positions, problems and arguments in the field today. Alex Rosenberg is certainly well qualified to write such an introduction. His works cover a large area of the philosophy of natural and social sciences. In addition, the author of the argument that the ‘queen of the social (...) sciences’, economics, is not a science at all, can be counted on to show how the philosophy of science can be relevant to the understanding of the status of scientific knowledge and can provide a critical assessment of practitioners’ view of their field. (shrink)
In his essay ‘Transparency, Belief, Intention’, Alex Byrne (2011) argues that transparency—our ability to form beliefs about some of our intentional mental states by considering their subject matter, rather than on the basis of special psychological evidence—involves inferring ‘from world to mind’. In this reply I argue that this cannot be correct. I articulate an intuitive necessary condition for a pattern of belief to count as a rule of inference, and I show that the pattern involved in transparency does (...) not meet that condition. As a result, I conclude that transparency does not involve inference. (shrink)
Reply to Alex Byrne and Fred Dretske Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-9 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9814-2 Authors Christopher S. Hill, Department of Philosophy, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
This paper argues in defense of theanti-reductionist consensus in the philosophy ofbiology. More specifically, it takes issues with AlexRosenberg's recent challenge of this position. Weargue that the results of modern developmentalgenetics rather than eliminating the need forfunctional kinds in explanations of developmentactually reinforce their importance.
The eleven original essays in this collection competently cover a wide range of Robert Stalnaker’s philosophical work, and Stalnaker’s replies to them are clear, well-thought out, and informative. Anyone interested in Stalnaker’s philosophy or the areas covered in this volume is well advised to read it.
Hmm… Hill on the paradox of pain Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-8 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9811-5 Authors Alex Byrne, Department of Linguistics and Philosophy, MIT, 32-d808, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Alex Byrne If I descry a hawk, I find the hawk but I do not find my seeing of the hawk. My seeing of the hawk seems to be a queerly transparent sort of process, transparent in that while a hawk is detected, nothing else is detected answering to the verb in ‘see a hawk’. Ryle, The Concept of Mind..
Can we ever truly answer the question, “Who am I?” Moderated by Alex Voorhoeve (London School of Economics), neuro-philosopher Elie During (University of Paris, Ouest Nanterre), cognitive scientist David Jopling (York University, Canada), social psychologist Timothy Wilson (University of Virginia),and ethicist Frances Kamm (Harvard University) examine the difficulty of achieving genuine self-knowledge and how the pursuit of self-knowledge plays a role in shaping the self.
What is the appropriate legal response to terrorist threats? This question is discussed by politician Tony McWalter, The Philosophers' Magazine editor Julian Baggini, and philosophers Catherine Audard, Saladin Meckled-Garcia, and Alex Voorhoeve.
Can we trust our intuitive judgments of right and wrong? Are moral judgements objective? What reason do we have to do what is right and avoid doing what is wrong? In Conversations on Ethics, Alex Voorhoeve elicits answers to these questions from eleven outstanding philosophers and social scientists: Ken Binmore; Philippa Foot; Harry Frankfurt; Allan Gibbard; Daniel Kahneman; Frances Kamm; Alasdair MacIntyre; T. M. Scanlon; Peter Singer; David Velleman; Bernard Williams. The exchanges are direct, open, and sharp, and give (...) a clear account of these thinkers' core ideas about ethics. They also provide unique insights into their intellectual development - how they became interested in ethics, and how they conceived the ideas for which they became famous. Conversations on Ethics will engage anyone interested in moral philosophy. (shrink)
Arguing about Art, 2nd Edition is an expanded and revised new edition of this highly acclaimed anthology. This lively collection presents twenty-seven readings in a clear and accessible format discussing the major themes and arguments in aesthetics. Alex Neill and Aaron Ridley's introductions provide a balanced account of each topic and highlight the important questions that are raised in the readings. The new sections of the book are: The Art of Food; Rock Music and Culture; Enjoying Horror; Art and (...) Morality ; and Public Art . In addition, many of the introductions have been updated and each section includes suggestions for further reading. (shrink)
Journalist Alex O’Meara is one of the more than twenty million Americans enrolled in a clinical trial—three times as many people as a decade ago. Indeed, clinical trials have become a $24 billion industry that is reshaping every aspect of health-care development and delivery in the United States and around the world. As O’Meara chronicles, twentieth-century medical trials have led to epic advances in health care, from asthma inhalers and insulin pumps to heart valves and pacemakers. And yet, although (...) regulations safeguard against grossly unethical tests, significant problems are still associated with how clinical trials are carried out and reported. For example, despite eight clinical trials for Vioxx before the FDA approved it in 1998 for use as a painkiller, Merck took it off the market in 2004, too late for the eighty-eight thousand Americans who suffered heart attacks while taking Vioxx and the thirty-eight thousand who died. _ Chasing Medical Miracles is the first book to give readers a behind-the-scenes look at the complicated world of clinical trials, revealing how a multibillion-dollar industry of private companies conducting them with little oversight has taken root and quietly become a major part of the American medical establishment. Whether you are participating in a clinical trial, considering that option, or interested in our medical system, Alex O’Meara’s ground-breaking_book is essential reading. Alex O’Meara is a freelance journalist who has worked for the City News Bureau of Chicago, Newsday , the Baltimore Sun , and many other media organizations. In an effort to cure his type-1 diabetes, he participated in a risky and groundbreaking clinical trial to receive a transplant of islet cells from several cadaver pancreases. This is his first book. He lives in Bisbee, Arizona. Journalist Alex O’Meara is one of the more than twenty million Americans enrolled in a clinical trial—three times as many people as there were a decade ago. Indeed, clinical trials have become a $24 billion industry that is reshaping every aspect of health-care development and delivery in the United States and around the world. As O’Meara chronicles, twentieth-century medical trials have led to epic advances in health care, from asthma inhalers and insulin pumps to heart valves and pacemakers. And yet, although regulations safeguard against grossly unethical tests, significant problems are still associated with how clinical trials are carried out and reported. For example, despite eight clinical trials for Vioxx before the FDA approved it in 1998 for use as a painkiller, Merck took it off the market in 2004, too late for the eighty-eight thousand Americans who suffered heart attacks while taking Vioxx and the thirty-eight thousand who died. Chasing Medical Miracles is the first book to give readers a behind-the-scenes look at the complicated world of clinical trials, revealing how a multibillion-dollar industry of private companies conducting them with little oversight has taken root and quietly become a major part of the American medical establishment. Whether you are participating in a clinical trial, considering that option, or interested in our medical system, Alex O’Meara’s book is essential reading. “Americans have long_been mystified about how new drugs are developed. Though the term ‘clinical trial’ has entered the popular lexicon, most people still don’t know what goes on behind the scenes._ Chasing Medical Miracles tells the truth about the byzantine world of clinical trials. O’Meara exposes the ethics of medical research both in the U.S. and abroad. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how new medicines are developed.”—Joe Graedon, M.S., and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D., authors of The People’s Pharmacy “This travelogue of ‘the most dangerous part of medical discovery’ moves from O’Meara’s own experience as a research subject—ranging from terror to euphoria—to a broader exploration of the ethics and economics of clinical trials._He describes a landscape populated by brave and often desperate patients, whose heroism is integral to finding tomorrow’s cures.”— Robin Marantz Henig , author of Pandora’s Baby: How the First Test Tube Babies Sparked the Reproductive Revolution “In the ethically murky world of clinical trials, Alex O’Meara’s book is an illumination. Whether probing the use of_Third World people to test U.S. drugs, or revealing that the goal of clinical trials is not to cure anyone but to obtain data, Chasing Medical Miracles is educational in a valuable and troubling way.”—Stephen P. Kiernan, author of Last Rights: Rescuing the End of Life from the Medical System “Readers who assume that the trials only occur at academic medical centers will be surprised by the author’s findings. As they multiply and grow wildly expensive—up to $500 million for a single drug—pharmaceutical companies are hiring clinical-research organizations, profit-making enterprises that recruit subjects, pay them and perform studies in their own facilities. These organizations continue to migrate overseas to save money and escape FDA oversight . . ._[O’Meara] does a capable job of revealing alarming problems that must be addressed.” — Kirkus Reviews “Enjoy this bracing tour through the history, horror, and headaches of clinical trials, described by a guide with both a detached delivery and knowledgeable perspective. Former Newsday and Baltimore Sun reporter O'Meara, a Type I diabetic, signed up for a trial offering a possible cure, so he may be more than a little invested in how trials work. But his self-interest is a compelling element as he surveys a $24-billion-a-year industry that affects the lives of 20 million Americans. His investigation briskly sails through the interests that spark clinical trials, the money that pays for them and the bonanza of cash and/or equipment and medications for developing countries where researchers find it cheaper to recruit trial subjects. Best and most sweetly, however, the book delves into the human guinea pigs, such as gene therapy trial participant whose death raised questions about government oversight and the self-interest of the lead researcher. O'Meara presents lessons from a medical front that offers something more important than success or failure—hope. 'I'm still able to say, "At least I tried,"' O'Meara notes.”— Publishers Weekly. (shrink)
Contingencies of the early nuclear arms race Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-23 DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9495-z Authors S. S. Schweber, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University, Science Center 371, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA Alex Wellerstein, Department of the History of Science, Harvard University, Science Center 371, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA Ethan Pollock, Department of History, Box N, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA Barton J. Bernstein, History Department, Building 200, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2024, USA Michael D. (...) Gordin, History Department, 305 Dickinson Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
It has become an intellectual commonplace to claim that we have entered the era of 'postmodernity'. Three themes are embraced in this claim the poststructurist critique by Foucault, Derrida and others of the philosophical heritage of the Enlightenment the supposed impasse of High Modern art and its replacement by new artistic forms and the alleged emergence of 'post-industrial' societies whose structures are beyond the ken of Marx and other theorists of industrial capitalism. Against Postmodernism takes issue with all these themes. (...) It challenges the idealist irrationalism of post-structuralism. It questions the existence of any radical break separating allegedly Postmodern from Modern art. And it denies that recent socio-economic developments represent any fundamental shift from classical patterns of capital accumulation. Drawing on philosophy and history, Against Postmodernism takes issue also with some of the most forthright critics of postmodernism -- Jurgen Habermas and Fredric Jameson, for example. But it is most distinctive in that it offers a historical reading of the theories of such currently fashionable thinkers as Baudrillard and Lyotard. Postmodernism, Alex Callinios argues, reflects the disappointed revolutionary generation of '68, and the incorporation of many of its members into the porfessional and managerial 'new middle class'. It is best read as a symptom of political frustration and social mobility rather than as a significant intellectual or cultural phenomenon in its own right. (shrink)
The 'content view', in slogan form, is 'Perceptual experiences have representational content'. I explain why the content view should be reformulated to remove any reference to 'experiences'. I then argue, against Bill Brewer, Charles Travis and others, that the content view is true. One corollary of the discussion is that the content of perception is relatively thin (confined, in the visual case, to roughly the output of 'mid-level' vision). Finally, I argue (briefly) that the opponents of the content view are (...) partially vindicated, because perceptual error is due to false belief. (shrink)
Qualia internalism is the thesis that qualia are intrinsic to their subjects: the experiences of intrinsic duplicates (in the same or different metaphysically possible worlds) have the same qualia. Content externalism is the thesis that mental representation is an extrinsic matter, partly depending on what happens outside the head.1 Intentionalism (or representationalism) comes in strong and weak forms. In its weakest formulation, it is the thesis that representationally identical experiences of subjects (in the same or different metaphysically (...) possible worlds) have the same qualia.2. (shrink)
A central question, if not the central question, of philosophy of perception is whether sensory states have a nature similar to thoughts about the world, whether they are essentially representational. According to the content view, at least some of our sensory states are, at their core, representations with contents that are either accurate or inaccurate. Tyler Burge’s Origins of Objectivity is the most sustained and sophisticated defense of the content view to date. His defense of the view is problematic in (...) several ways. The most significant problem is that his approach does not sit well with mainstream perceptual psychology. (shrink)
I distinguish two ways of explaining our capacity for ‘transparent’ knowledge of our own present beliefs, perceptions, and intentions: an inferential and a reflective approach. Alex Byrne (2011) has defended an inferential approach, but I argue that this approach faces a basic difficulty, and that a reflective approach avoids the difficulty. I conclude with a brief sketch and defence of a reflective approach to our transparent self-knowledge, and I show how this approach is connected with the thesis that we (...) must distinguish between a kind of self-knowledge that is of oneself as agent and another kind that is of oneself as patient. (shrink)
Introductory texts in the philosophy of mind often begin with a discussion of behaviourism, presented as one of the few theories of mind that have been conclusively refuted. But matters are not that simple: behaviourism, in one form or another, is still alive and kicking.
The difference between the unity of the individual and the separateness of persons requires that there be a shift in the moral weight that we accord to changes in utility when we move from making intrapersonal tradeoffs to making interpersonal tradeoffs. We examine which forms of egalitarianism can, and which cannot, account for this shift. We argue that a form of egalitarianism which is concerned only with the extent of outcome inequality cannot account for this shift. We also argue that (...) a view which is concerned with both outcome inequality and with the unfairness of inequality in individuals‘ expected utilities can account for this shift. Finally, we limn an alternative view, on.. (shrink)
The standard form of act-consequentialism requires us to perform the action with the best consequences; it allows choice between moral options only on those rare occasions when several actions produce equally good results. This paper argues for moral options and thus against act-consequentialism. The argument turns on the insight that some valuable things cannot exist unless our moral system allows options. One such thing is the opportunity for individuals to enact plans for their life from among alternatives. Because planning one’s (...) life has value, and because it requires moral options, a world governed by a moral system that admits of options is better than one governed by act-consequentialism. The paper argues that these facts entail that morality admits of a significant number of moral options; act-consequentialism is false. (shrink)
Perceptual experiences justify beliefs—that much seems obvious. As Brewer puts it, “sense experiential states provide reasons for empirical beliefs” (this volume, xx). In Mind and World McDowell argues that we can get from this apparent platitude to the controversial claim that perceptual experiences have conceptual content: [W]e can coherently credit experiences with rational relations to judgement and belief, but only if we take it that spontaneity is already implicated in receptivity; that is, only if we take it that experiences have (...) conceptual content. (1994, 162) Brewer agrees. Their view is sometimes called conceptualism; nonconceptualism is the rival position, that experiences have nonconceptual content. One initial obstacle is understanding what the issue is. What is conceptual content, and how is it different from nonconceptual content? Section 1 of this paper explains two versions of each of the rival positions: state (non)conceptualism and content (non)conceptualism; the latter pair is the locus of the relevant dispute. Two prominent arguments for content nonconceptualism—the richness argument and the continuity argument—both fail (section 2). McDowell’s and Brewer’s epistemological defenses of content conceptualism are also faulty (section 3). Section 4 gives a more simple-minded case for conceptualism; finally, some reasons are given for rejecting the claim—on one natural interpretation—that experiences justify beliefs. (shrink)
The textbook presentation of quantum mechanics, in a nutshell, is this. The physical state of any isolated system evolves deterministically in accordance with Schrödinger's equation until a "measurement" of some physical magnitude M (e.g. position, energy, spin) is made. Restricting attention to the case where the values of M are discrete, the system's pre-measurement state-vector f is a linear combination, or "superposition", of vectors f1, f2,... that individually represent states that..
In this paper, we address several puzzles concerning speech acts,particularly indirect speech acts. We show how a formal semantictheory of discourse interpretation can be used to define speech actsand to avoid murky issues concerning the metaphysics of action. Weprovide a formally precise definition of indirect speech acts, includingthe subclass of so-called conventionalized indirect speech acts. Thisanalysis draws heavily on parallels between phenomena at the speechact level and the lexical level. First, we argue that, just as co-predicationshows that some words can (...) behave linguistically as if they're `simultaneously'of incompatible semantic types, certain speech acts behave this way too.Secondly, as Horn and Bayer (1984) and others have suggested, both thelexicon and speech acts are subject to a principle of blocking or ``preemptionby synonymy'': Conventionalized indirect speech acts can block their`paraphrases' from being interpreted as indirect speech acts, even ifthis interpretation is calculable from Gricean-style principles. Weprovide a formal model of this blocking, and compare it withexisting accounts of lexical blocking. (shrink)
When is a cause of a cause of an effect also a cause of that effect? The right answer is either Sometimes or Always . In favour of Always , transitivity is considered by some to be necessary for distinguishing causes from redundant non-causal events. Moreover transitivity may be motivated by an interest in an unselective notion of causation, untroubled by principles of invidious discrimination. And causal relations appear to add up like transitive relations, so that the obtaining of the (...) overarching relation is not independent of the obtaining of the intermediaries. On the other hand, in favour of Sometimes , often we seem not to treat events that are very spatiotemporally remote from an effect as its causes, even when connected to the effect in question by a chain of counterfactual or chance-raising dependence. Moreover cases of double prevention provide counterexamples to causal transitivity even over short chains. According to the argument of this paper, causation is non-transitive. Transitizing causation provides no viable account of causal redundancy. An unselective approach to causation may motivate resisting the distance counterexamples to transitivity, but it does not help with double prevention, and even makes it more intractable. The strongest point in favour of transitivity is the adding up of causal relations, and this is the point that extant non-transitizing analyses have not adequately addressed. I propose a necessary condition on causation that explains the adding up phenomenon. In doing so it also provides a unifying explanation of distance and double prevention counterexamples to transitivity. (shrink)
Don Marquis offered the most famous philosophical argument against abortion. His argument contained a novel defence of the idea that foetuses have the same moral status as ordinary adults. The first half of this paper contends that even if Marquis has shown that foetuses have this status, he has not proven that abortion is therefore wrong. Instead his argument falls victim to problems similar to those raised by Judith Thomson, problems that have plagued most anti-abortion arguments since. Once Marquis's anti-abortion (...) argument is shown to fail, this raises the question of whether there is some way to circumvent the problems. The second half of the paper argues that this issue hinges on important questions about responsibility for risky behaviour and the duties of parenthood. Because we have yet to develop appropriate theoretical frameworks for judging such questions, we cannot yet know whether Marquis's anti-abortion argument — and indeed most other anti-abortion arguments — can be completed. (shrink)
Remembering a cat sleeping (specifically, recollecting the way the cat looked), perceiving (specifically, seeing) a cat sleeping, and imagining (specifically, visualizing) a cat sleeping are of course importantly different. Nonetheless, from the first-person perspective they are palpably alike. Our first question is.
The terminology surrounding the dispute between higher-order and first-order theories of consciousness is piled so high that it sometimes obscures the view. When the debris is cleared away, there is a real prospect.
Some things are _about_, or are _directed on_ , or _represent_, other things. For example, the sentence 'Cats are animals' is about cats (and about animals), this article is about intentionality, Emanuel Leutze's most famous painting is about Washington's crossing of the Delaware, lanterns hung in Boston's North Church were about the British, and a map of Boston is about Boston. In contrast, '#a$b', a blank slate, and the city of Boston are not about anything. Many mental states and events (...) also have "aboutness": the belief that cats are animals is about cats, as is the fear of cats, the desire to have many cats, and seeing that the cats are on the mat. Arguably some mental states and events are not about anything: sensations, like pains and itches, are often held to be examples. Actions can also be about other things: hunting for the cat is about the cat, although tripping over the cat is not. This -- rather vaguely characterized -- phenomenon of "aboutness" is called _intentionality_. Something that is about (directed on, represents) something else is said to "have intentionality", or (in the case of mental states) is said to be an "intentional mental state". (shrink)
Consciousness is the subject of many metaphors, and one of the most hardy perennials compares consciousness to a spotlight, illuminating certain mental goings-on, while leaving others to do their work in the dark. One way of elaborating the spotlight metaphor is this: mental events are loaded on to one end of a conveyer belt by the senses, and move with the belt.
In the writings of Daniel Dennett and Donald Davidson we find something like the following bold conjecture: it is an a priori truth that there is no gap between our best judgements of a subject's beliefs and desires and the truth about the subject's beliefs and desires. Under ideal conditions a subject's belief-box and desire-box become transparent.
Vendler, Res Cogitans Knowing that one wants to go to the movies is an example of self-knowledge, knowledge of one’s mental states. It may be foolish to ask the man on the Clapham Omnibus how he knows what he wants, but the question is nonetheless important — albeit neglected by epistemologists. This paper attempts an answer. Before getting to that, the familiar claim that we enjoy “privileged access” to our mental states needs untwining (section 1). A sketch of a theory (...) of knowledge of one’s beliefs that has received some attention in the recent literature (section 2), and the case for extending that account to self-knowledge in general (section 3), sets the stage for our answer to the main question (section 4). (shrink)
The target article is an attempt to make some progress on the problem of color realism. Are objects colored? And what is the nature of the color properties? We defend the view that physical objects (for instance, tomatoes, radishes, and rubies) are colored, and that colors are physical properties, specifically types of reflectance. This is probably a minority opinion, at least among color scientists. Textbooks frequently claim that physical objects are not colored, and that the colors are "subjective" or "in (...) the mind." The article has two other purposes: first, to introduce an interdisciplinary audience to some distinctively philosophical tools that are useful in tackling the problem of color realism and, second, to clarify the various positions and central arguments in the debate. (shrink)
The Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) has become a prominent feature in international debates about preventing and responding to genocide and mass atrocities. Since its adoption in 2005, it has been discussed in relation to a dozen major crises and been the subject of discussion at the UN Security Council and General Assembly. This article takes stock of the past five years and examines three questions about RtoP: What is its function? Is it a norm, and, if so, what sort? And (...) what contribution has it made to the prevention of atrocities and protection of vulnerable populations? In relation to the first, it argues that RtoP is commonly conceptualized as fulfilling one of two functions (a framework for a policy agenda and a speech-act meant to generate the will to intervene), but that these two functions are incompatible. In relation to the second question, it argues that RtoP is best thought of as two sets of norms relating to the responsibilities of states to their own populations and international responsibilities. The first set are well defined and established, the second though are indeterminate and lack compliance-pull, limiting the extent to which RtoP can serve as a catalyst for action. This, the article argues, is reflected in RtoP's track record thus far. RtoP has failed to generate additional political will in response to atrocity crimes but it has proven useful as both a diplomatic tool and as a policy lens. (shrink)
Two-dimensional semantics is a framework that helps us better understand some of the most fundamental issues in philosophy: those having to do with the relationship between the meaning of words, the way the world is, and our knowledge of the meaning of words. This selection of new essays by some of the world's leading authorities in this field sheds fresh light both on foundational issues regarding two-dimensional semantics and on its specific applications. Contributors: Richard Breheny, Alex Byrne, David Chalmers, (...) Martin Davies, Gareth Evans, Manuel Garcia-Carpintero, Josep Maci`, Martine Nida-Rumelin, Christopher Peacocke, James Pryor, Francois Recanati, Scott Soames, Cara Spencer, Robert Stalnaker, Kai-Yee Wong, Stephen Yablo. (shrink)
This volume collects together chapters that were originally delivered at a conference on the Admissible Contents of Experience that took place at the University of Glasgow in March 2006. The original papers were first published in a special edition of The Philosophy Quarterly (July 2009). -/- Introduction (Fiona Macpherson, University of Glasgow). -- 1. Perception And The Reach Of Phenomenal Content (Tim Bayne, University of Oxford). -- 2. Seeing Causings And Hearing Gestures (Steven Butterfill, University of Warwick). -- 3. Experience (...) And Content (Alex Byrne, Massachusetts Institute of Technology). -- 4. Is Perception A Propositional Attitude? (Tim Crane, University College London). -- 5. Conscious Reference (Alva Noë, University of California, Berkeley). -- 6. What Are The Contents Of Experiences? (Adam Pautz, University of Texas at Austin). -- 7. Aspect-Switching And Visual Phenomenal Character (Richard Price, University of Oxford). -- 8. The Visual Experience Of Causation (Susanna Siegel, Harvard University). -- 9. The Admissible Contents Of Visual Experience (Michael Tye, University of Texas at Austin). -- Index. (shrink)
Normative naturalism is a view about the status of epistemology and philosophy of science; it is a meta-epistemology. It maintains that epistemology can both discharge its traditional normative role and nonetheless claim a sensitivity to empirical evidence. The first sections of this essay set out the central tenets of normative naturalism, both in its epistemic and its axiological dimensions; later sections respond to criticisms of that species of naturalism from Gerald Doppelt, Jarrett Leplin and Alex Rosenberg.
The realist preference for reductive theories of color over the last few decades is particularly striking in light of the generally anti-reductionist mood of recent philosophy of mind. The parallels between the mind-body problem and the case of color are substantial enough that the difference in trajectory is surprising. While dualism and non-.
This essay explores a simple argument for a Ground of Being, objections to it, and limitations on it. It is nonsensical to refer to Nothing in the sense of utter absence, hence nothing can be claimed to come from Nothing. If, as it seems, the universe, or any physical ensemble containing it, is past-finite, it must be caused by an uncaused Ground. Speculative many-worlds, pocket universes and multiverses do not affect this argument, but the quantum cosmologies of Alex Vilenkin, (...) and J. B. Hartle and Stephen Hawking, which claim that the universe came from literally nothing, would. I argue that their novel project cannot work for reasons both physical (their "nothing" is actually a vacuum state governed by eternal physical laws) and methodological (physical theory cannot explain the emergence of the physical per se). Thus my argument stands. However, as David Hume showed, a posteriori arguments like mine infer a creation, and Creator, of a certain character, namely, a stochastic concept of creation and a panentheistic, partly physical Creator lacking omniscience and omnipotence. Rather than undermining the cosmological argument, as Hume intended, these limitations liberate the concept of the Ground from unnecessary problems, as Hartshorne suggested. (shrink)
During the 1990s, international society increasingly recognised that states who abuse their citizens in the most egregious ways ought to lose their sovereign inviolability and be subject to humanitarian intervention. The emergence of this norm has given renewed significance to the debate concerning what it is about humanitarian intervention that makes it legitimate. The most popular view is that it is humanitarian motivations that legitimise intervention. Others insist that humanitarian outcomes are more important that an actor's motivations, pointing for instance (...) to the ousting of the Khmer Rouge by Vietnam. Given the centrality of this debate, this article reinvestigates the ?motives versus outcomes? debate and suggests an alternative reading based on the classic Just War tradition. It argues that an actor's intentions are vital to assessing the legitimacy of an intervention. (shrink)
The Dangerous Book for Boys Abstract: Seventeenth and eighteenth century discussions of the senses are often thought to contain a profound truth: some perceptible properties are secondary qualities, dispositions to produce certain sorts of experiences in perceivers. In particular, colors are secondary qualities: for example, an object is green iff it is disposed to look green to standard perceivers in standard conditions. After rebutting Boghossian and Velleman’s argument that a certain kind of secondary quality theory is viciously circular, we discuss (...) three main lines of argument for the secondary quality theory. The first is inspired by an intuitively compelling picture of perception articulated by Reid; the second is that the secondary quality theory is a conceptual truth; the third line of argument is presented in Johnston’s influential paper ‘How to speak of the colors’. We conclude that all these arguments fail, and that the secondary quality theory is unmotivated. Keywords: color, secondary quality, disposition, vision, perception.. (shrink)
Qualia inversion thought experiments are ubiquitous in contemporary philosophy of mind (largely due to the influence of Shoemaker 1982 and Block 1990). The most popular kind is one or another variant of Locke's hypothetical case of.
The paper argues that same-sex marriage ought to be legalized. The argument is ecumenical and appeals only to basic principles of liberal government. Specifically, the paper argues that if the government is offering an opportunity to one group, then it may not withhold the opportunity from another on the ground that the people receiving it are immoral or that their receipt of the opportunity would spread immoral messages. The only acceptable ground is that the group’s receipt would cause wrongful harm (...) to third-parties that would outweigh the benefits. Same-sex marriage would not do so, and thus it must to be allowed. As part of this argument, the paper addresses the popular stamp-of-approval and defense-of-marriage arguments against same-sex marriage. (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)
No one has expressed the destructive power of Darwinian theory more effectively than Daniel Dennett. Others have recognized that the theory of evolution offers us a universal acid, but Dennett, bless his heart, coined the term. Many have appreciated that the mechanism of random variation and natural selection is a substrate-neutral algorithm that operates at every level of organization from the macromolecular to the mental, at every time scale from the geological epoch to the nanosecond. But it took Dennett to (...) express the idea in a polysyllable or two. These two features of Darwinism undermine more wishful thinking about the way the world is than any other brace of notions since mechanism was vindicated in physics. (shrink)
In this paper we discuss the scientific value of the human genome project. To what extent is the data obtained by sequencing the entire human genome useful in the gene dicovery process? Responding to Alex Rosenberg' skepticism about the value of such data, we maintain that brute sequence data is much more useful than he suggests.