Explaining moral intuitions is one of the hot topics of recent cognitive science. In the present article we focus on a factor that attracted surprisingly little attention so far, namely the temporal order in which moral scenarios are presented. We argue that previous research points to a systematic pattern of order effects that has been overlooked until now: only judgments of actions that are normally regarded as morally acceptable are susceptible to be affected by the order of presentation, and this (...) in turn is only the case if the dilemma is immediately preceded by a dilemma in which the proposed action was considered as not morally acceptable. We conducted an experiment that largely confirmed this pattern and allowed us to analyze by what individual level responses it was generated. We argue that investigating order effects is necessary for approaching a complete descriptive moral theory. Furthermore, we discuss the implications of these findings for moral philosophy. (shrink)
In recent years, a number of philosophers have conducted empirical studies that survey people's intuitions about various subject matters in philosophy. Some have found that intuitions vary accordingly to seemingly irrelevant facts: facts about who is considering the hypothetical case, the presence or absence of certain kinds of content, or the context in which the hypothetical case is being considered. Our research applies this experimental philosophical methodology to Judith Jarvis Thomson's famous Loop Case, which she used to call into question (...) the validity of the intuitively plausible Doctrine of Double Effect. We found that intuitions about the Loop Case vary according to the context in which the case is considered. We contend that this undermines the supposed evidential status of intuitions about the Loop Case. We conclude by considering the implications of our findings for philosophers who rely on the Loop Case to make philosophical arguments and for philosophers who use intuitions in general. (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.
The fiction of Australian novelist Alex Miller has long been exploring the dynamics of friendship, but in Landscape of Farewell (2007) he provides the most ambitious, and in my view the most comprehensive and perceptive, treatment of the subject of any contemporary novel, Australian or otherwise. This essay explores this profound view of friendship, which goes quite beyond mateship, and examines the ways in which Miller represents and embodies that vision in fiction. Through its brilliant handling of the complexities (...) of tone and its rich deployment of the dynamics of gift exchange, Landscape of Farewell confronts the stark realities of suffering and death and finds within the darkness itself the deepest sources of light. (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.
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.
In a recent article, Alex Levine raises a paradox. It appears that, given some relatively uncontroversial premises about how a species term comes to refer to its species, a type specimen belongs necessarily and contingently to its species. According to Levine, this problem arises if species are individuals rather than natural kinds. I argue that the problem can be generalized: the problem also arises if species are kinds and type specimens are paradigmatic members used to baptize names for species. (...) Indeed, the same problem arises with respect to kinds like gold and the samples used to ground names for them. After arguing that the paradox arises whether or not species are individuals, I attempt to show how the paradox can be resolved. Levine's argument that a type specimen belongs necessarily to its species is specious. The appeal of the argument stems from a failure to distinguish between two different modal statements concerning type specimens, one de dicto and the other de re. Type specimens belong contingently to their respective species. Even so, they can be known a priori to belong to them: hence, that a particular type specimen belongs to its species is an example of contingent a priori knowledge. (shrink)
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.