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Profile: Alex Rosenberg (Duke University)
  1.  23
    Alexander Rosenberg (1985). The Structure of Biological Science. Cambridge University Press.
    This book provides a comprehensive guide to the conceptual methodological, and epistemological problems of biology, and treats in depth the major developments in molecular biology and evolutionary theory that have transformed both biology and its philosophy in recent decades. At the same time the work is a sustained argument for a particular philosophy of biology that unifies disparate issues and offers a framework for expectations about the future directions of the life sciences. The argument explores differences between autonomist and anti-autonomist (...)
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  2.  2
    Alexander Rosenberg (1980). Sociobiology and the Preemption of Social Science. Johns Hopkins University Press, C1980.
  3.  75
    Frédéric Bouchard & Alex Rosenberg (2004). Fitness, Probability and the Principles of Natural Selection. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (4):693-712.
    We argue that a fashionable interpretation of the theory of natural selection as a claim exclusively about populations is mistaken. The interpretation rests on adopting an analysis of fitness as a probabilistic propensity which cannot be substantiated, draws parallels with thermodynamics which are without foundations, and fails to do justice to the fundamental distinction between drift and selection. This distinction requires a notion of fitness as a pairwise comparison between individuals taken two at a time, and so vitiates the interpretation (...)
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  4.  36
    Alexander Rosenberg (1994). Instrumental Biology, or, the Disunity of Science. University of Chicago Press.
    Do the sciences aim to uncover the structure of nature, or are they ultimately a practical means of controlling our environment? In Instrumental Biology, or the Disunity of Science, Alexander Rosenberg argues that while physics and chemistry can develop laws that reveal the structure of natural phenomena, biology is fated to be a practical, instrumental discipline. Because of the complexity produced by natural selection, and because of the limits on human cognition, scientists are prevented from uncovering the basic structure of (...)
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  5.  78
    Alexander Rosenberg (2006). Darwinian Reductionism, or, How to Stop Worrying and Love Molecular Biology. University of Chicago Press.
    After the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953, scientists working in molecular biology embraced reductionism—the theory that all complex systems can be understood in terms of their components. Reductionism, however, has been widely resisted by both nonmolecular biologists and scientists working outside the field of biology. Many of these antireductionists, nevertheless, embrace the notion of physicalism—the idea that all biological processes are physical in nature. How, Alexander Rosenberg asks, can these self-proclaimed physicalists also be antireductionists? With clarity and (...)
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  6.  57
    Alexander Rosenberg (1992). Economics: Mathematical Politics or Science of Diminishing Returns? University of Chicago Press.
    Economics today cannot predict the likely outcome of specific events any better than it could in the time of Adam Smith. This is Alexander Rosenberg's controversial challenge to the scientific status of economics. Rosenberg explains that the defining characteristic of any science is predictive improvability--the capacity to create more precise forecasts by evaluating the success of earlier predictions--and he forcefully argues that because economics has not been able to increase its predictive power for over two centuries, it is not a (...)
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  7.  2
    Alexander Rosenberg (1976). Microeconomic Laws: A Philosophical Analysis. University of Pittsburgh Press.
    Rosenberg applies current thinking in philosophy of science to neoclassical economics in order to assess its claims to scientific standing. Although philosophers have used history and psychology as paradigms for the examination of social science, there is good reason to believe that economics is a more appropriate subject for analysis: it is the most systematized and quantified of the social sciences; its practitioners have reached a measure of consensus on important aspects of their subject; and it encompasses a large number (...)
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  8.  13
    Alexander Rosenberg (2008). Philosophy of Biology: A Contemporary Introduction. Routledge.
    EM Music Education /EM is a collection of thematically organized essays that present an historical background of the picture of education first in Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages, then Early-Modern Europe. The bulk of the book focuses on American education up to the present. This third edition includes readings by Orff, Kodály, Sinichi Suzuki, William Channing Woodbridge, Allan Britton, and Charles Leonhard. In addition, essays include timely topics on feminism, diversity, cognitive psych, testing (the Praxis exam) and the No (...)
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  9.  25
    Alexander Rosenberg (1995). Philosophy of Social Science. Westview Press.
    This is an expanded and thoroughly revised edition of the widely adopted introduction to the philosophical foundations of the human sciences. Ranging from cultural anthropology to mathematical economics, Alexander Rosenberg leads the reader through behaviorism, naturalism, interpretativism about human action, and macrosocial scientific perspectives, illuminating the motivation and strategy of each.Rewritten throughout to increase accessibility, this new edition retains the remarkable achievement of revealing the social sciences’ enduring relation to the fundamental problems of philosophy. It includes new discussions of positivism, (...)
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  10.  50
    Karen Neander & Alex Rosenberg (2012). Solving the Circularity Problem for Functions: A Response to Nanay. Journal of Philosophy 109 (10):613-622.
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  11.  99
    Alex Rosenberg & Frederic Bouchard (2005). Matthen and Ariew's Obituary for Fitness: Reports of its Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 20 (2-3):343-353.
    Philosophers of biology have been absorbed by the problem of defining evolutionary fitness since Darwin made it central to biological explanation. The apparent problem is obvious. Define fitness as some biologists implicitly do, in terms of actual survival and reproduction, and the principle of natural selection turns into an empty tautology: those organisms which survive and reproduce in larger numbers, survive and reproduce in larger numbers. Accordingly, many writers have sought to provide a definition for ‘fitness’ which avoid this outcome. (...)
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  12.  62
    Marc Lange & Alexander Rosenberg (2011). Can There Be A Priori Causal Models of Natural Selection? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 89 (4):591 - 599.
    Sober 2011 argues that, contrary to Hume, some causal statements can be known a priori to be true?notably, some ?would promote? statements figuring in causal models of natural selection. We find Sober's argument unconvincing. We regard the Humean thesis as denying that causal explanations contain any a priori knowable statements specifying certain features of events to be causally relevant. We argue that not every ?would promote? statement is genuinely causal, and we suggest that Sober has not shown that his examples (...)
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  13.  29
    Alexander Rosenberg (1983). Coefficients, Effects, and Genic Selection. Philosophy of Science 50 (2):332-338.
  14.  75
    Alex Rosenberg & Karen Neander (2009). Are Homologies (Selected Effect or Causal Role) Function Free? Philosophy of Science 76 (3):307-334.
    This article argues that at least very many judgments of homology rest on prior attributions of selected‐effect (SE) function, and that many of the “parts” of biological systems that are rightly classified as homologous are constituted by (are so classified in virtue of) their consequence etiologies. We claim that SE functions are often used in the prior identification of the parts deemed to be homologous and are often used to differentiate more restricted homologous kinds within less restricted ones. In doing (...)
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  15. Clyde L. Hardin & Alexander Rosenberg (1982). In Defense of Convergent Realism. Philosophy of Science 49 (4):604-615.
    Many realists have maintained that the success of scientific theories can be explained only if they may be regarded as approximately true. Laurens Laudan has in turn contended that a necessary condition for a theory's being approximately true is that its central terms refer, and since many successful theories of the past have employed central terms which we now understand to be non-referential, realism cannot explain their success. The present paper argues that a realist can adopt a view of reference (...)
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  16.  32
    Alexander Rosenberg (1983). Fitness. Journal of Philosophy 80 (8):457-473.
    The diversity, complexity and adaptation of the biological realm is evident. Until Darwin, the best explanation for these three features of the biological was the conclusion of the “argument from design.” Darwin's theory of natural selection provides an explanation of all three of these features of the biological realm without adverting to some mysterious designing entity. But this explanation's success turns on the meaning of its central explanatory concept, ‘fitness’. Moreover, since Darwinian theory provides the resources for a purely causal (...)
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  17.  47
    Alexander Rosenberg (1978). The Supervenience of Biological Concepts. Philosophy of Science 45 (3):368-386.
    In this paper the concept of supervenience is employed to explain the relationship between fitness as employed in the theory of natural selection and population biology and the physical, behavioral and ecological properties of organisms that are the subjects of lower level theories in the life sciences. The aim of this analysis is to account simultaneously for the fact that the theory of natural selection is a synthetic body of empirical claims, and for the fact that it continues to be (...)
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  18. Alexander Rosenberg (1986). Intentional Psychology and Evolutionary Biology, Part II: The Crucial Disanalogy. Behaviorism 14 (2):125-138.
     
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  19. Alex Rosenberg & David Michael Kaplan (2005). How to Reconcile Physicalism and Antireductionism About Biology. Philosophy of Science 72 (1):43-68.
    Physicalism and antireductionism are the ruling orthodoxy in the philosophy of biology. But these two theses are difficult to reconcile. Merely embracing an epistemic antireductionism will not suffice, as both reductionists and antireductionists accept that given our cognitive interests and limitations, non-molecular explanations may not be improved, corrected or grounded in molecular ones. Moreover, antireductionists themselves view their claim as a metaphysical or ontological one about the existence of facts molecular biology cannot identify, express, or explain. However, this is tantamount (...)
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  20.  69
    Carl Hoefer & Alexander Rosenberg (1994). Empirical Equivalence, Underdetermination, and Systems of the World. Philosophy of Science 61 (4):592-607.
    The underdetermination of theory by evidence must be distinguished from holism. The latter is a doctrine about the testing of scientific hypotheses; the former is a thesis about empirically adequate logically incompatible global theories or "systems of the world". The distinction is crucial for an adequate assessment of the underdetermination thesis. The paper shows how some treatments of underdetermination are vitiated by failure to observe this distinction, and identifies some necessary conditions for the existence of multiple empirically equivalent global theories. (...)
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  21.  46
    Leslie Graves, Barbara L. Horan & Alex Rosenberg (1999). Is Indeterminism the Source of the Statistical Character of Evolutionary Theory? Philosophy of Science 66 (1):140-157.
    We argue that Brandon and Carson's (1996) "The Indeterministic Character of Evolutionary Theory" fails to identify any indeterminism that would require evolutionary theory to be a statistical or probabilistic theory. Specifically, we argue that (1) their demonstration of a mechanism by which quantum indeterminism might "percolate up" to the biological level is irrelevant; (2) their argument that natural selection is indeterministic because it is inextricably connected with drift fails to join the issue with determinism; and (3) their view that experimental (...)
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  22. Alexander Rosenberg (1990). Normative Naturalism and the Role of Philosophy. Philosophy of Science 57 (1):34-43.
    The prescriptive force of methodological rules rests, I argue, on the acceptance of scientific theories; that of the most general methodological rules rests on theories in the philosophy of science, which differ from theories in the several sciences only in generality and abstraction. I illustrate these claims by reference to methodological disputes in social science and among philosophers of science. My conclusions substantiate those of Laudan except that I argue for the existence of transtheoretical goals common to all scientists and (...)
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  23. Alexander Rosenberg (2012). The Structure of Biological Science. Cambridge University Press.
    This book provides a comprehensive guide to the conceptual methodological, and epistemological problems of biology, and treats in depth the major developments in molecular biology and evolutionary theory that have transformed both biology and its philosophy in recent decades. At the same time the work is a sustained argument for a particular philosophy of biology that unifies disparate issues and offers a framework for expectations about the future directions of the life sciences. The argument explores differences between autonomist and anti-autonomist (...)
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  24.  92
    Alex Rosenberg (2001). How is Biological Explanation Possible? British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 52 (4):735-760.
    That biology provides explanations is not open to doubt. But how it does so must be a vexed question for those who deny that biology embodies laws or other generalizations with the sort of explanatory force that the philosophy of science recognizes. The most common response to this problem has involved redefining law so that those grammatically general statements which biologists invoke in explanations can be counted as laws. But this terminological innovation cannot identify the source of biology's explanatory power. (...)
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  25. Alex Rosenberg (1997). Reductionism Redux: Computing the Embryo. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 12 (4):445-470.
    This paper argues that the consensus physicalist antireductionism in the philosophy of biology cannot accommodate the research strategy or indeed the recent findings of molecular developmental biology. After describing Wolperts programmatic claims on its behalf, and recent work by Gehring and others to identify the molecular determinants of development, the paper attempts to identify the relationship between evolutionary and developmental biology by reconciling two apparently conflicting accounts of bio-function – Wrights and Nagels (as elaborated by Cummins). Finally, the paper seeks (...)
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  26.  49
    Alexander Rosenberg (2008). Fitness. Journal of Philosophy.
    The diversity, complexity and adaptation of the biological realm is evident. Until Darwin, the best explanation for these three features of the biological was the conclusion of the “argument from design.” Darwin's theory of natural selection provides an explanation of all three of these features of the biological realm without adverting to some mysterious designing entity. But this explanation's success turns on the meaning of its central explanatory concept, ‘fitness’. Moreover, since Darwinian theory provides the resources for a purely causal (...)
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  27.  57
    Alex Rosenberg (2001). Reductionism in a Historical Science. Philosophy of Science 68 (2):135-163.
    Reductionism is a metaphysical thesis, a claim about explanations, and a research program. The metaphysical thesis reductionists advance (and antireductionists accept) is that all facts, including all biological facts, are fixed by the physical and chemical facts; there are no non-physical events, states, or processes, and so biological events, states and processes are “nothing but” physical ones. The research program can be framed as a methodological prescription which follows from the claim about explanations. Antireductionism does not dispute reductionism’s metaphysical claim, (...)
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  28. Alexander Rosenberg (1983). If Economics Isn't Science, What Is It? Philosophical Forum 14 (3):296.
     
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  29. Tamler Sommers & Alex Rosenberg (2003). Darwin's Nihilistic Idea: Evolution and the Meaninglessness of Life. [REVIEW] Biology and Philosophy 18 (5):653-668.
    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 (...)
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  30.  23
    Alex Rosenberg (2001). Discussion Note: Indeterminism, Probability, and Randomness in Evolutionary Theory. Philosophy of Science 68 (4):536-544.
  31.  55
    Karen Neander & Alex Rosenberg (2013). Solving the Circularity Problem for Functions. Journal of Philosophy 109 (10):613-622.
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  32.  58
    Alex Rosenberg (2009). The Biological Justification of Ethics: A Best-Case Scenario. Social Philosophy and Policy 8 (1):86.
    Social and behavioral scientists - that is, students of human nature - nowadays hardly ever use the term ‘human nature’. This reticence reflects both a becoming modesty about the aims of their disciplines and a healthy skepticism about whether there is any one thing really worthy of the label ‘human nature’.
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  33.  40
    Alex Rosenberg (2015). The Genealogy of Content or the Future of an Illusion. Philosophia 43 (3):537-547.
    Eliminativism about intentional content argues for its conclusion from the partial correctness of all three of the theses Hutto and Satne seek to combine: neo-Cartesianism is correct to this extent: if there is intentional content it must originally be mental. Neo-Behaviorism is correct to this extent: attribution of intentional content is basically a heuristic device for predicting the behavior of higher vertebrates. Neo-Pragmatism is right to this extent: the illusion of intentionality in language is the source of the illusion of (...)
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  34.  15
    Robert Brandon & Alexander Rosenberg (2003). Philosophy of Biology. In Peter Clark & Katherine Hawley (eds.), Philosophy of Science Today. Oxford University Press 147--180.
  35.  35
    Alex Rosenberg (2013). How Jerry Fodor Slid Down the Slippery Slope to Anti-Darwinism, and How We Can Avoid the Same Fate. European Journal for Philosophy of Science 3 (1):1-17.
    There is only one physically possible process that builds and operates purposive systems in nature: natural selection. What it does is build and operate systems that look to us purposive, goal directed, teleological. There really are not any purposes in nature and no purposive processes ether. It is just one vast network of linked causal chains. Darwinian natural selection is the only process that could produce the appearance of purpose. That is why natural selection must have built and must continually (...)
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  36.  55
    Alex Rosenberg (2004). On the Priority of Intellectual Property Rights, Especially in Biotechnology. Politics, Philosophy and Economics 3 (1):77-95.
    This article argues that considerations about the role and predictability of intellectual innovation make the protection of intellectual property morally obligatory even when it greatly reduces short-term welfare. Since the provision of good new ideas is the only productive input not subject to decreasing marginal productivity, welfarist considerations require that no impediment to its maximal provision be erected and the potentially substantial welfare losses imposed by a patent system be mitigated by taxation of other sources of wealth and income. Key (...)
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  37. Alexander Rosenberg (1989). Russell Versus Steiner on Physics and Causality. Philosophy of Science 56 (2):341-347.
    In "Events and Causality" Mark Steiner argues that though Bertrand Russell was right to claim that the laws of physics do not express causal relations, nevertheless, Russell was wrong to suppose that therefore causality plays no role in physics. I argue that Steiner misses the point of Russell's argument for the first of these claims, and because of this Steiner's argument against the second fails to controvert it. Steiner fails to see that Russell's argument against causation, is in fact an (...)
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  38. Alexander Rosenberg & Mary Williams (1986). Fitness as Primitive and Propensity. Philosophy of Science 53 (3):412-418.
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  39. Alexander Rosenberg (1986). The Explanatory Role of Existence Proofs. Ethics 97 (1):177-186.
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  40. Mary B. Williams & Alexander Rosenberg (1985). "Fitness" in Fact and Fiction: A Rejoinder to Sober. Journal of Philosophy 82 (12):738 - 749.
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  41.  28
    Alexander Rosenberg (1986). Lakatosian Consolations for Economics. Economics and Philosophy 2 (1):127.
    The F-twist is giving way to the methodology of scientific research programs. Milton Friedman's “Methodology for Economics” is being supplanted as the orthodox rationale for neoclassical economics by Imre Lakatos' account of scientific respectability. Friedman's instrumentalist thesis that theories are to be judged by the confirmation of their consequences and not the realism of their assumptions has long been widely endorsed by economists, under Paul Samuelson's catchy rubric “the F-twist.” It retains its popularity among economists who want no truck with (...)
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  42.  45
    Alex Rosenberg (2001). The Scientific Instrument: The Case for Constructive Empiricism Over Scientific Realism. Philosophical Studies 106:109.
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  43. Alex Rosenberg, Why Do Temporary Invariances Explain in Biology and the Social Sciences?
    The issue of whether there are laws in biology and the “special science”1 has been of interest owing to the debate about whether scientific explanation requires laws. A well-warn argument goes thus: no laws in social science, no explanations, or at least no scientific explanations, at most explanation-sketches. The conclusion is not just a matter of labeling. If explanations are not scientific they are not epistemically or practically reliable. There are at least three well-known diagnoses of where this argument goes (...)
     
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  44.  30
    Alexander Rosenberg (forthcoming). "Making Mechnaism Interesting". Synthese:1-23.
    I note the multitude of ways in which, beginning with the classic paper by Machamer, Darden and Craver (2000), the mechanists have qualify their methodological dicta, and limit the vulnerability of their claims by strategic vagueness regarding their application. I go on to generalize a version of the mechanist requirement on explanations due to Craver and Kaplan (2010) in cognitive and systems neuroscience so that it applies broadly across the life sciences in accordance with the view elaborated by Craver and (...)
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  45. Alex Rosenberg, Comments and Criticism on Multiple Realization and the Special Sciences.
    It is widely held that disciplines are autonomous when their taxonomies are “substrate neutral” and when the events, states and processes that realize their descriptive vocabulary are heterogeneous. This will be particularly true in the case of disciplines whose taxonomy consists largely in terms that individuate by function. Having concluded that the multiple realization of functional kinds is far less widespread than assumed or argued for, Shapiro cannot avail himself of the argument for the autonomy of the special sciences which (...)
     
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  46.  77
    Alex Rosenberg (2001). On Multiple Realization and the Special Sciences. Journal of Philosophy 98 (7):365-373.
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  47.  38
    Alexander Rosenberg (1979). Review Symposium : Can Economic Theory Explain Everything? Philosophy of the Social Sciences 9 (4):509-529.
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  48.  48
    Alex Rosenberg (2004). Fitness, Probability and the Principles of Natural Selection. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (4):693 - 712.
    We argue that a fashionable interpretation of the theory of natural selection as a claim exclusively about populations is mistaken. The interpretation rests on adopting an analysis of fitness as a probabilistic propensity which cannot be substantiated, draws parallels with thermodynamics which are without foundations, and fails to do justice to the fundamental distinction between drift and selection. This distinction requires a notion of fitness as a pairwise comparison between individuals taken two at a time, and so vitiates the interpretation (...)
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  49.  36
    Alexander Rosenberg (1989). Is Lewis's `Genuine Modal Realism' Magical Too? Mind 98 (391):411-421.
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  50.  73
    Matthew Braddock & Alexander Rosenberg (2012). Reconstruction in Moral Philosophy? Analyse & Kritik 34 (1):63-80.
    We raise three issues for Philip Kitcher's "Ethical Project" (2011): First, we argue that the genealogy of morals starts well before the advent of altruism-failures and the need to remedy them, which Kitcher dates at about 50K years ago. Second, we challenge the likelihood of long term moral progress of the sort Kitcher requires to establish objectivity while circumventing Hume's challenge to avoid trying to derive normative conclusions from positive ones--'ought' from 'is'. Third, we sketch ways in which Kitcher's metaethical (...)
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