Modality, morality and belief are among the most controversial topics in philosophy today, and few philosophers have shaped these debates as deeply as Ruth Barcan Marcus. Inspired by her work, a distinguished group of philosophers explore these issues, refine and sharpen arguments and develop new positions on such topics as possible worlds, moral dilemmas, essentialism, and the explanation of actions by beliefs. This 'state of the art' collection honours one of the most rigorous and iconoclastic of philosophical pioneers.
The great contribution Marcus has made to several of intensely discussed topics in philosophy might not have been noticed fully without this collection of some of her most important articles that makes it evident that her achievement is not limited to inventing the famous Barcan formula.
This article is a defence of the Fact-Value distinction against considerations brought up by Ruth Anna Putnam in three articles in Philosophy, especially her ‘Perceiving Facts and Values’ January 1998. I defend metaphysical realism about facts and anti-realism about values against Putnam' intermediate position about both and I relate the matter to the logic of imperatives. The motivations of scientists or historians to select fields of investigation are irrelevant to the objectivity of their hypotheses, and so is the goodness (...) or badness of the social consequences of their work though these may affect their motivations. (shrink)
Ruth Millikan is one of the most interesting and influential philosophers alive. Her work is also hard to penetrate. In this review, I try to present and assess her work on the nature of language, which is collected in this anthology. I also criticize her analysis of “natural convention” as well as her discussion of illocutionary acts.
In philosophy textbooks for undergraduates the cultural anthropologist Ruth Benedict is often cited as a proponent of moral relativism, and her writings are not infrequently excerpted to illustrate the view that the individual’s moral values are culturally determined. Because Benedict established that significant differences can exist in the underlying cultural patterns of different societies, her work is commonly construed as providing evidence for the arbitrary and non-rational basis of morals. The author of the present essay argues that this popular (...) reading of Benedict is mistaken. He draws a distinction between two different forms of moral relativism—the objective and the subjective—and then contends that Benedict is widely viewed as a subjective relativist when in fact her relativism was of the objective variety. He shows that her position actually has much in common with the pragmatic meliorism of John Dewey and George Herbert Mead. (shrink)
Annette Baier was the dean of contemporary Hume studies and one of the most insightful and influential philosophers writing on Hume. Since the late 1970s, her writings and the example of her distinctive mode of scholarship have inspired generations of scholars to look with fresh eyes at Hume's work. The special turn of her philosophical mind and personal style of writing are especially well-suited to uncover, appreciate, and effectively communicate the rich, nuanced, and humane dimensions of Hume's moral philosophy. (...) Her masterpiece, A Progress of Sentiments (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991), for example, taught us that Hume's moral psychology underwrites his moral and social philosophy. The Cautious .. (shrink)
In every philosopher’s career, there comes a time to look back on accomplishments, assess achievements, evaluate one’s place in a canon that dates to an era when Ancient Greeks still roamed the Earth. Perhaps many of you have wondered when I’d finally get around to doing this. Sadly, this is not the night for that splendid occasion. Do not pretend to hide your disappointment. Also, do not hesitate to point fingers. Believe me when I tell you that I would take (...) great delight in reporting to you my accomplishments, achievements, and place in the canon. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who knows me well, or, at any rate, has spent a few minutes in conversation with me, or, maybe, has simply observed me in conversation with someone else. They’ll tell you that I am uniquely suited to fete myself, and take obvious pleasure spreading the good word to others. Alas, I have been enlisted to concentrate my philosophical powers on a topic less interesting than myself. My focus? A woman named Ruth Millikan. For philosophers, mention of the Book of Ruth directs thoughts not to the Old Testament, but to LTOBC. This is a shame, because Ruth’s Old Testament book is quite short, as books go, and tells a heartwarming story of redemption and devotion – virtues that receive hardly any mention in LTOBC. Now that I think about it, Ruth’s later books and articles mark a significant departure from the plot line in that first Book of Ruth’s. Gone are references to Bethlehem and Moab, and in their place lurk hoverflies and push me pull yous, but more on these matters in a moment. I want first to turn my finely tuned and oft picked philosophical nose to LTOBC – unquestionably Professor Millikan’s magnum opus . Here’s a little known fact. Originally, LTOBC had a different title, requiring a different acronym. If she hadn’t taken her editor’s advice, we’d be speaking of BLTOBC, which stood for Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato on Blueberry Cobbler. There’s something down home and grannyish about this title, and Ruth deserves credit for trying to entice readers with the promise of good old fashioned, feather plucked, farm food, but, as her editor was quick to note, bacon, lettuce, and tomato have no more place on blueberry cobbler than they do on cherry cobbler, and so BLTOBC might as well be BLTOCC, and with no reason to prefer one title to the other, best just to forget about the bacon.. (shrink)
When thinking about the intersection of care and Christian bioethics, it is helpful to follow closely the account of Ruth, who turned away from security and walked alongside her grieving mother-in-law to Bethlehem. Remembering Ruth may help one to heed Professor Kaveny?s summoning of Christians to remember ?the Order of Widows? and the church?s historic calling to bring ?the almanahinto its center rather than pushing her to its margins.? Disabled, elderly and terminally ill people often seem, at least (...) implicitly, expendable. By hearing the scriptural account of Jesus? steadfast great-grandmother, readers may recall another way. One may read Ruth?s care for Naomi as a performative, prophetic act of faith. Ruth?s faithful resolve, when set next to Orpah?s prudent way, challenges the notion that a bioethic of care is innately feminine, and may further call women and men corporately to participate in a kind of care that is strenuous work. My thanks to Cathleen Kaveny for allowing me to play off the title of her insightful essay. Thanks also to Willie James Jennings, whose 1998 baccalaureate sermon on Ruth inspired and much informed this essay. I wish also to thank Ellen Davis, who taught me to read Hebrew, and to read Ruth. (shrink)
Annette Baier stands out as a figure of prime importance on the contemporary philosophical horizon. This volume finally brings the proper recognition she deserves, presenting a rich collection of essays in her honor. Persons and Passions proves to be extremely interesting both for the discussion of Baier’s own philosophical reflection and as an example of how Baier represents an unparalleled source of inspiration for anyone concerned with the philosophers who have been at the forefront of her interests. Although Baier’s (...) preference is surely for David Hume, her intellectual curiosity and scholarly mastery cover a wider area spanning from Descartes to Kant. (shrink)
Ruth Macklin's new book, AgainstRelativism, says in its subtitle that it intends to address cultural diversity and the search for ethical universals in medicine. This it does very well. Every chapter includes some discussion of cultural relativism, cultural anthropology, or postmodernism, and her analyses are acute and scathing. Macklin is unabashed in her defense of the principles of medical ethics, and she gives a strong argument that principles are essential elements of any ethical system that is to successfully survive (...) the skeptical doubts of relativism. (shrink)
In this commentary, we raise two issues. First, we argue that in any species, the comparative study of metacognitive abilities must be approached from a developmental perspective and not solely from the adult end state. This makes it possible to explore the trajectories by which different species reach their phenotypic outcome and whether different cognitive systems interact over developmental time. Second, using our research comparing different genetic disorders in humans, we challenge the authors' claim that it is unparsimonious to interpret (...) the same performance in humans and animals in qualitatively different ways, because even the same overt behaviour in different groups of humans can be sustained by different underlying cognitive processes. (shrink)
Annette Baier should have entitled her book A Progress of Reason and Sentiments instead of A Progress of Sentiments, because one of her chief concerns is the role and significance of reason in Hume's philosophy. She says in the Preface that her aim in the book is “to present Hume's work as exhibiting a progress of thought and sentiment, and acquiring ‘new force as it advances‘” (p. viii). Because the issue of reason in Hume's philosophy is central to her (...) concern, Baier initiates a discussion of it in Chapter 1 and relentlessly pursues the discussion throughout the book. I think it is fair to say that Baier wishes to answer the question “How, if at all, does cognitive reason function in Hume's philosophy?” To answer this question she begins by contrasting Hume's method of conducting philosophy with the method of the Cartesian or intellectualist tradition. She shows that solipsism is, to borrow Gilbert Ryle's expression, the “ineluctable destiny” of the kind of philosopher who glorifies the intellect while denigrating the other human capacities, the individual who indulges in abstract speculation over practical matters. According to Baier, this solipsistic predicament i s what Hume's protagonist articulates towards the end of his intellectual adventure in Book I, Part IV of the Treatise in saying: “Where am I or what? From what causes do I derive my existence?…” Here, Baier affirms, is pure (read unsociable) reason trapped in a miasma of self-doubt, perplexities, bewilderment and desolation from which it cannot extricate itself. (shrink)
Ruth Ginzberg has proposed a model for a gynocentric science that might constitute a paradigm as described by Kuhn. The author argues that Ginzberg's model lacks certain essential features of paradigms as described by Kuhn. The differences may stem from more fundamental disagreements between them, including the possibility that some essential features of Ginzberg's gynocentric science place it outside the intended scope of Kuhn's analysis.
In this short study, the Scroll of Ruth, and especially Ruth's undisclosed motives for following her mother-in-law, are read alongside the situation of foreign, female migrant workers in contemporary Israel—and vice versa. This allows a bi-directional reading that supplies a possible context both for the biblical text and for the evaluation of today's issues.
This essay introduces and discusses four musical works that extensively treat Ruth and Naomi's relationship: two late nineteenth-century oratorios, and two twentieth-century operas. Both music and librettos are treated as midrash—a creative retelling through both altered text and in the language of music.
Although the Book of Ruth is in many respects a classic example of biblical Hebrew narrative, with its stripped-down style and the opaqueness of its character's inner lives and motivations, there are two examples of formal poetry in the book (1:16–17 and 1:20–21). Biblical poetry works with a very different set of literary conventions than narrative, and by taking note of those conventions, we can see the distinctive contributions made by these poems to the book as a whole.
(2007). Classroom Authority: Theory, Research, and Practice. Judith L. Pace and Annette Hemmings, eds. Mahwah, NJ.: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., 2006. pp. 193 $24.50 (paper). Educational Studies: Vol. 41, No. 3, pp. 259-263.
The positions of Brandom and Millikan are compared with respect to their common origins in the works of Wilfrid Sellars and Wittgenstein. Millikan takes more seriously the ¿picturing¿ themes from Sellars and Wittgenstein. Brandom follows Sellars more closely in deriving the normativity of language from social practice, although there are also hints of a possible derivation from evolutionary theory in Sellars. An important claim common to Brandom and Millikan is that there are no representations without function or ¿attitude¿.
The paper begins with an objection to the Desire-Based Reasons Model. The argument from reason-based desires holds that since desires are based on reasons (first premise), which they transmit but to which they cannot add (second premise), they cannot themselves provide reasons for action. In the paper I investigate an attack that has recently been launched against the first premise of this argument by Ruth Chang. Chang invokes a counterexample: affective desires. The aim of the paper is to see (...) if there is a way to accommodate the counterexample to the first premise. I investigate three strategies. I first deal with the idea that the motivation for the premise may be the thesis that an action is intentional if and only if it is done under the guise of perceived reasons. This offers us a way of defending the premise: by showing that actions prompted by affective desires are not intentional. I, however, argue that this strategy is unworkable. This brings me to the second strategy. Here I consider the idea that the premise does not require a conscious normative thought on the part of the agent; in fact, it may not require any such thought, conscious or unconscious. I claim that this strategy too is a failure. Finally, the third approach builds normative judgment in the desire. This is the approach that I think works; in particular, recent work by Jennifer Hawkins may help us accommodate affective desires. The challenge of affective desires, I conclude, can be tackled. (shrink)
Fictional truth is commonly analyzed in terms of the speech acts or propositional attitudes of a teller. In this paper, I investigate Lewisâs counterfactual analysis in terms of felicitous narrator assertion, Currieâs analysis in terms of fictional author belief, and Byrneâs analysis in terms of ideal author invitations to make-believeâand find them all lacking. I propose instead an analysis in terms of the revelations of an infelicitous narrator.
Abstract: The paper provides a general account of value relations. It takes its departure in a special type of value relation, parity, which according to Ruth Chang is a form of evaluative comparability that differs from the three standard forms of comparability: betterness, worseness and equal goodness. Recently, Joshua Gert has suggested that the notion of parity can be accounted for if value comparisons are interpreted as normative assessments of preference. While Gert's basic idea is attractive, the way he (...) develops it is flawed: His modeling of values by intervals of permissible preference strengths is inadequate. Instead, I provide an alternative modeling in terms of intersections of rationally permissible preference orderings. This yields a general taxonomy of all binary value relations. The paper concludes with some implications of this approach for rational choice. (shrink)
Ruth Millikan’s teleological theory of mental content is complex and often misunderstood. This paper motivates and clarifies some of the complexities of the theory, and shows that paying careful attention to its details yields answers to a number of common objections to teleological theories, in particular, the problem of novel mental states, the problem of functionally false beliefs, and problems about indeterminacy or multiplicity of function.