The study tests the hypothesis that conditional probability judgments can be influenced by causal links between the target event and the evidence even when the statistical relations among variables are held constant. Three experiments varied the causal structure relating three variables and found that (a) the target event was perceived as more probable when it was linked to evidence by a causal chain than when both variables shared a common cause; (b) predictive chains in which evidence is a cause of (...) the hypothesis gave rise to higher judgments than diagnostic chains in which evidence is an effect of the hypothesis; and (c) direct chains gave rise to higher judgments than indirect chains. A Bayesian learning model was applied to our data but failed to explain them. An explanation-based hypothesis stating that statistical information will affect judgments only to the extent that it changes beliefs about causal structure is consistent with the results. (shrink)
Stollenwerk, Daniel J In this essay on the social encyclical Caritas in Veritate, the author looks at Pope Benedict XVI's defense of reason in an age that has lost its faith in reason. Benedict insists we are faced with a choice between being closed within immanence - which leads to an irrational rejection of meaning and value - or open to reason that leads to the transcendent. Pope Benedict, the author concludes, is a contemporary apologist, claiming that Christianity is not (...) only the most reasonable of worldviews, but also necessary for the very survival of humanity. (shrink)
In search of good -- A Socratic question -- Flourishing and well-being -- Mind and value -- Utilitarianism -- Rawls and the priority of the right -- Right, wrong, should -- The elimination of moral rightness -- Rules and good -- Categorical imperatives -- Conflicting interests -- Whose good? The egoist's answer -- Whose good? The utilitarian's answer - Self-denial, self-love, universal concern -- Pain, self-love, and altruism -- Agent-neutrality and agent-relativity -- Good, conation, and pleasure -- "Good" and "good (...) for" -- "Good for" and advantage -- "Good that" and "Bad that" -- Pleasure and advantage -- Good for S that P -- The "for" of "good for" -- Plants, animals, humans -- Ross on human nature -- The perspectival reading of "good for" -- The conative approach to well-being -- Abstracting from the content of desires and plans -- The faulty mechanisms of desire formation -- Infants and adults -- The conation of an ideal self -- The appeal of the conative theory -- Conation hybridized -- Strict hedonism -- Hedonism diluted -- Prolegomenon to flourishing -- Development and flourishing: the general theory -- Development and flourishing: the human case -- More examples of what is good -- Appealing to nature -- Sensory un-flourishing -- Affective flourishing and un-flourishing -- Hobbes on tranquility and restlessness -- Flourishing and un-flourishing as a social being -- Cognitive flourishing and un-flourishing -- Sexual flourishing and un-flourishing -- Too much and too little -- Comparing lives and stages of life -- Adding goods: Rawls's principle of inclusiveness -- Art, science, and culture -- Self-sacrifice -- The vanity of fame -- The vanity of wealth -- Making others worse-off -- Virtues and flourishing -- The good of autonomy -- What is good and why -- The sovereignty of good -- The importance of what is good for us -- Good's insufficiency -- Promises -- Retribution -- Cosmic justice -- Social justice -- Pure antipaternalism -- Moral space and giving aid -- Slavery -- Torture -- Moral rightness revisited -- Lying -- Honoring the dead -- Meaningless goals and symbolic value -- Good-independent realms of value -- Good thieves and good human beings -- Final thoughts. (shrink)
It is argued that Nozick's experience machine thought experiment does not pose a particular difficulty for mental state theories of well-being. While the example shows that we value many things beyond our mental states, this simply reflects the fact that we value more than our own well-being. Nor is a mental state theorist forced to make the dubious claim that we maintain these other values simply as a means to desirable mental states. Valuing more than our mental states is compatible (...) with maintaining that the impact of such values upon our well-being lies in their impact upon our mental lives. (shrink)
Well-Being and Theism is divided into two distinctive parts. The first part argues that desire-fulfillment welfare theories fail to capture the 'good' part of ‘good for’, and that objective list welfare theories fail to capture the 'for' part of ‘good for’. Then, with the aim of capturing both of these parts of ‘good for’, a hybrid theory–one which places both a value constraint and a desire constraint on well-being–is advanced. Lauinger then defends this proposition, which he calls the desire-perfectionism theory, (...) against possible objections. -/- In the second part, Lauinger explores the question of what metaphysics best supports the account of well-being defended in the first part. It is argued that there are two general metaphysical routes that might convincingly be taken here, and that each one leads us toward theism. (shrink)
This paper is an attempt to undermine a basic assumption of theories of well-being, one that I call well-being invariabilism. I argue that much of what makes existing theories of well-being inadequate stems from the invariabilist assumption. After distinguishing and explaining well-being invariabilism and well-being variabilism, I show that the most widely-held theories of well-being—hedonism, desire-satisfaction, and pluralist objective-list theories—presuppose invariabilism and that a large class of the objections to them arise because of it. My aim is to show that (...) abandoning invariabilism and adopting variabilism is a sensible first step for those aiming to formulate more plausible theories of well-being. After considering objections to my argument, I explain what a variabilist theory of well-being would be like and show that well-being variabilism need not be any threat to the project of formulating theories of well-being that deliver general principles concerning well-being enhancement. (shrink)
Abstract The article is a reading, in conjunction with one-another, of Time and Being and What is metaphysics. Its scope is that of raising questions on certain Heideggerian topics that are here formulated as thesis. Namely, first that the turn in Heidegger’s thinking is not a change in his process of thinking, but rather an essential trait of what Heidegger calls the matter at hand (Sachverhalt). Secondly, that this turn of the matter at hand is in itself memory in a (...) twofold way: as metaphysics in its relation to being and time, and as questioning of this metaphysical relation. And finally, that this turn is a technical one, in the sense of technique as this latter is, in Heidegger’s thinking, the original determination of Being as Anwesenheit. (shrink)
David Benatar argues that being brought into existence is always a net harm and never a benefit. I disagree. I argue that if you bring someone into existence who lives a life worth living (LWL), then you have not all things considered wronged her. Lives are worth living if they are high in various objective goods and low in objective bads. These lives constitute a net benefit. In contrast, lives worth avoiding (LWA) constitute a net harm. Lives worth avoiding are (...) net high in objective bads and low in objective goods. It is the prospect of a LWA that gives us good reason to not bring someone into existence. Happily, many lives are not worth avoiding. Contra Benatar, many are indeed worth living. Even if we grant Benatar his controversial asymmetry thesis, we have no reason to think that coming into existence is always a net harm. (shrink)
It is generally assumed that Descartes invokes “objective being in the intellect” in order to explain or describe an idea’s status as being “of something.” I argue that this assumption is mistaken. As emerges in his discussion of “materially false ideas” in the Fourth Replies, Descartes recognizes two senses of ‘idea of’. One, a theoretical sense, is itself introduced in terms of objective being. Hence Descartes can’t be introducing objective being to explain or describe “ofness” understood in this sense. Descartes (...) also appeals to a pretheoretical sense of ‘idea of’. I will argue that the notion of objective being can’t serve to explain or describe this “ofness” either. I conclude by proposing an alternative explanation of the role of objective being, according to which Descartes introduces this notion to explain the mind’s ability to attain clear and distinct ideas. (shrink)
Many philosophers have claimed that we might do well to adopt a hybrid theory of well-being: a theory that incorporates both an objective-value constraint and a pro-attitude constraint. Hybrid theories are attractive for two main reasons. First, unlike desire theories of well-being, hybrid theories need not worry about the problem of defective desires. This is so because, unlike desire theories, hybrid theories place an objective-value constraint on well-being. Second, unlike objectivist theories of well-being, hybrid theories need not worry about being (...) overly alienating. This is so because, unlike objectivist theories, hybrid theories place a pro-attitude constraint on well-being. However, from the point of view of objectivists, hybrid theories are not objectivist enough, and this can be seen clearly in missing-desires cases. For instance, hybrid theories entail that, if someone lacks the desire for health, then health is not a component of her well-being. This, objectivists say, is implausible. It is obvious, objectivists say, that someone’s life goes better for herself inasmuch as she is healthy, and hence that health is a component of her welfare. This paper focuses on the missing-desires objection (as leveled by objectivists) to hybrid theories of well-being. My argument is that the missing-desires objection can be answered in a way that is generally convincing and, in particular, in a way that pays a good deal of respect to objectivist intuitions about well-being. My hope, then, is that this paper will help to persuade objectivists about well-being to become hybrid theorists. (shrink)
The ‘adjustment strategy’ currently seems to be the most common approach to incorporating objective elements into one's theory of well-being. These theories face a certain problem, however, which can be avoided by a different approach – namely, that employed by ‘partially objective multi-component theories.’ Several such theories have recently been proposed, but the question of how to understand their mathematical structure has not been adequately addressed. I argue that the most mathematically simple of these multi-component theories fails, so I proceed (...) to investigate more sophisticated ways to formulate such a theory. I conclude that one of these – the Discount/Inflation Theory – is particularly promising. (shrink)
This essay in the comparative metaphysic of nothingness begins by pondering why Leibniz thought of the converse question as the preeminent one. In Eastern philosophical thought, like the numeral 'zero' (śūnya) that Indian mathematicians first discovered, nothingness as non-being looms large and serves as the first quiver on the imponderables they seem to have encountered (e.g., 'In the beginning was neither non-being nor being: what was there, bottomless deep?' RgVeda X.129). The concept of non-being and its permutations of nothing, negation, (...) nullity, etc., receive more sophisticated treatment in the works of grammarians, ritual hermeneuticians, logicians, and their dialectical adversaries variously across Jaina and Buddhist schools. The present analysis follows the function of negation/the negative copula, nãn, and dialetheia in grammar and logic, then moves onto ontologies of non-existence and extinction and further suggestive tropes that tend to arrest rather than affirm the inexorable being-there of something. After a discussion of interests in being (existence), non-being and nothingness in contemporary metaphysics, the article examines Heidegger’s extensive treatment of nothingness in his 1929 inaugural Freiburg lecture, 'Was ist Metaphysik?', published later as 'What is Metaphysics?' The essay however distances itself from any pretensions toward a doctrine of Metaphysical Nihilism. (shrink)
The paper proposes a novel understanding of how Aristotle’s theoretical works complement each other in such a way as to form a genuine system, and this with the immediate (and ostensibly central) aim of addressing a longstanding question regarding Aristotle’s ‘first philosophy’—namely, is Aristotle’s first philosophy a contribution to theology, or to the science of being in general? Aristotle himself seems to suggest that it is in some ways both, but how this can be is a very difficult question. My (...) answer is in some respects a version of one that goes back at least to the middle ages—i.e., that first philosophy is concerned with the gods (and to that extent offers a theology) because the gods are causes and principles of beings precisely insofar as they are beings. The more original aspect of my position lies in my claim that the sort of tension found in the Metaphysics is likewise to be found in many of Aristotle’s physical works. Thus, for example, the De caelo is (I argue) concerned generally with natural beings (= beings susceptible of change), but its discussions are focused largely on the heavenly bodies and the Aristotelian elements insofar as they admit of change with respect to place. Here I claim that the particular objects of discussion are dealt with precisely because they are causes and principles of natural beings as such. Something similar goes, I claim, for the De generatione et corruptione, the general concern of which is a particular species of natural being—i.e., natural beings susceptible of generation and corruption. In this way, I argue, Aristotle successively deals in his theoretical works with those causes and principles of (say) a horse which attach to it insofar as it is a being, those causes and principles of a horse which attach to it insofar as it is a natural being, those causes and principles of a horse which attach to it insofar as it is a perishable natural being, and so on for the lower genera under which the species horse is subsumed. (shrink)
This paper addresses the most fundamental question in metaphysics, Why is there something rather than nothing? The question is framed as a question about concrete entities, Why does a possible world containing concrete entities obtain rather than one containing no concrete entities? Traditional answers are in terms of there necessarily being some concrete entities, and include the possibility of a necessary being. But such answers are threatened by metaphysical nihilism, the thesis that there being nothing concrete is possible, and the (...) subtraction argument for this thesis, an argument that is the subject of considerable recent debate. I summarize and extend the debate about the argument, and answer the threat it poses, turning the tables on it to show how the subtraction argument supports a cosmological argument for a necessary being. (shrink)
Introduction: The role of animals in philosophies of man -- Part I: What's wrong with animal rights? -- The right to remain silent -- Part II: Animal pedagogy -- You are what you eat : Rousseau's cat -- Say the human responded : Herder's sheep -- Part III: Difference worthy of its name -- Hair of the dog : Derrida's and Rousseau's good taste -- Sexual difference, animal difference : Derrida's sexy silkworm -- Part IV: It's our fault -- The (...) beaver's struggle with species-being : De Beauvoir and the praying mantis -- Answering the call of nature : Lacan walking the dog -- Part V: Estranged kinship -- The abyss between humans and animals : Heidegger puts the bee in being -- Strange kinship : Merleau-Ponty's sensuous stickleback -- Stopping the anthropological machine : Agamben's tick-tocking tick -- Psychoanalysis and the science of kinship -- Psychoanalysis as animal by-product : Freud's zoophilia -- Animal abjects, maternal abjects : Kristeva's strays -- Conclusion: Sustainable ethics. (shrink)
This book provides a novel interpretation of the Aristotelian understanding of work in light of the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. In a world of changing work patterns and the global displacement of working lifestyles, the nature of human identity and work is put under great strain. Modern conceptions of work have been restricted to issues of utility and necessity, where aims and purposes of work are reducible to the satisfaction of immediate technical and economic needs. Left unaddressed is the larger (...) narrative context in which humans naturally seek to understand a human contribution to and responsibility for themselves, others and being as a whole. What role does human work play in the development of the world itself? Is it merely a functional activity or does it have a metaphysical and ontological calling? "Heidegger, Work, and Being" elucidates Heidegger's philosophy of work, providing a novel interpretation of the Aristotelian understanding of work in relation to Heidegger's ontology and notion of thanking. Todd S. Mei employs Heidegger's hermeneutical approach to a critique and reconstruction of an understanding of work to show that work, at its core, is an activity centred on thanking and mutual recognition. "Continuum Studies in Continental Philosophy" presents cutting-edge scholarship in the field of modern European thought. The wholly original arguments, perspectives and research findings in titles in this series make it an important and stimulating resource for students and academics from across the discipline. (shrink)
In his recent review essay, Stan van Hooft raises some interesting potential challenges for cosmopolitan global justice projects, of which my version is one example. I am grateful to van Hooft for doing so. I hope by responding to these challenges here, others concerned with developing frameworks for analyzing issues of global justice will also learn something of value. I start by giving a very brief synopsis of key themes of my book, 'Global Justice', so I can address van Hooft's (...) concerns about the structure of the book. I then outline the normative thought experiment that yields the global justice framework I endorse, in order to address five main concerns van Hooft has with it. These center around problems he foresees about what it would be reasonable to agree to in the face of quite different worldviews. There are five specific concerns he identifies related to reasonableness and I address these in the third and fourth sections of this paper. -/- . (shrink)
In this chapter I explore what painful art can tell us about the nature and importance of human welfare. My goal is not so much to defend a new solution to the paradox of tragedy, as it is to explore the implications of the kinds of solutions that I find attractive. Both nonhedonic compensatory theories and constitutive theories explain why people seek out painful art, but they have troublesome implications. On some narrow theories of well-being, they imply that painful art (...) is bad for us. Accordingly, we may rightly wonder if it rational for people to watch melodramas or to listen to love songs. One might think that we should generally avoid unpleasant works of art. This implication flirts with absurdity. I show how it can be avoided by making a distinction between well-being and worth. (shrink)
This paper investigates whether being “physically insecure” (being at risk of not continuing to meet one's physical needs in the future) should be thought of as a constituent of current wellbeing. In §1, it is argued that we cannot understand the value of security in terms of “freedom from fear”. In §2, it is argued that the reliablist approach to epistemology can help us to construct an account of why physical security is valuable, by relating security to the conditions of (...) agency for practically and epistemically limited animals. In §3, this argument is compared with other attempts to understand the value of physical security. In §4, the relationship between security and threats of rights violation is clarified. In §5, the epistemic analogy of §2 is used to suggest a difference between the concepts of “security” and “capability”. (shrink)
Many philosophers with hedonistic sympathies (e.g., Mill, Sidgwick, Sumner, Feldman, Crisp, Heathwood, and Bradley) have claimed that well-being is necessarily experiential. Kagan once claimed something slightly different, saying that, although unexperienced bodily events can directly impact a person’s well-being, it is nonetheless true that any change in a person’s well-being must involve a change in her (i.e., either in her mind or in her body). Kagan elaborated by saying that a person’s well-being cannot float freely of her such that it (...) is affected by events that do not affect her (Kagan 1992, 169-189). These two claims – that well-being is necessarily experiential and that changes in well-being must involve changes in the person – are two different ways of specifying the general intuition that a person’s well-being must be strongly tied to her. This general intuition imposes an adequacy constraint on welfare theorizing: To be adequate, a welfare theory cannot allow that someone can be directly benefited by events that are not strongly tied to her. Call this the strong-tie requirement. The strong-tie requirement is easily satisfied by welfare hedonism, but it poses problems for desire-fulfillment welfare theories and objective-list welfare theories. Though a great deal has been written about desire-fulfillment welfare theories in relation to the strong-tie requirement, not as much has been written about objective-list welfare theories in relation to the strong-tie requirement. This paper argues that objective-list welfare theories can satisfy the strong-tie requirement, though probably only if they take a perfectionist form, as opposed to a brute-list form. (shrink)
It is common to hear Māori discuss primordial states of Being, yet in colonisation those very central beliefs are forced into weaker utterances. In this process those utterances merely conform to a colonised agenda. ‘Mātauranga’, a tidy term that overwhelmingly refers to an epistemological knowing of the world, colludes nicely with its English equivalent, ‘knowledge’, to further colonise those core contemplations of Being. Its plausibility relies on an orderly regard of things in the world. In education, historical and current practices (...) of schooling pave the way for things in the world so that they amount to mātauranga for Māori, and even the term ‘ako’ will conspire in its own way. Both Novalis and Heidegger have the ability to identify subtly colonising philosophies, and may even propose some theoretical solutions for Māori. (shrink)
This paper analyses whether the aggregation of individual happiness scores to a National Happiness Index can still be trusted once governments have proclaimed their main objective to be the pursuit—or even maximization—of this National Happiness Index. The answer to this investigation is clear-cut: as soon as the National Happiness Index has become a policy goal, it can no longer be trusted to reflect people’s true happiness. Rather, the Index will be systematically distorted due to the incentive for citizens to answer (...) strategically and the incentive for government to manipulate the Index in its favour. Such a distortion would arise even if the measurement of subjective well-being correctly reflected actual happiness before the intervention of government. Governments in a democracy should establish the conditions enabling individuals to become happy. The valuable and important results of happiness research should be introduced into the political process. Each person should be free to pursue happiness according to his or her preferences. This process is supported by obedience to the rule of law, human rights and free media, as well as by extended political participation rights, decentralized public decision-making, an open and effective education system fostering upward mobility and the possibility to find suitable employment. (shrink)
James K.A. Smith argues that the ontology of participation associated with Radical Orthodoxy is incompatible with a Christian affirmation of the intrinsic being and goodness of creatures. In response, he proposes a Leibnizian view in which things are endowed with the innate dynamism of ‘force’. Creatures have a certain depth of being, and are intrinsically good, just because they each have an inner virtuality that they bring into expression. Such force is said to be a metaphysical component of the agent. (...) In this paper it is asked whether John Milbank's ontology of participation can be defended by distinguishing between two senses of being a subject. Perhaps it is possible for a creature to bring into expression what is an infused ‘alien’ gift rather than a metaphysical component – to be expressive subject, but not ontic subject, for divine power. However, while this distinction promises to make sense of the reception of an indwelling ‘other’ in grace, knowledge and love, neither proper substance nor proper existence can be received in this way. A creature must be the ontic subject for its being, after all. Still, divine being might proceed from God as radical indwelling gift, as non-ontic ground for ontic being. (shrink)
This paper offers an interpretation of Plato's argument in Republic V that lovers of sights and sounds can have only opinion, and philosophers alone have legitimate claims to knowledge. The argument depends on the idea that knowledge is "set over what is" while mere opinion is "set over what is and is not." I argue for an enhanced veridical interpretation of 'to be' in this passage, on which 'what is' means, roughly, "what is so." Given a distinction between what is (...) so independently of how things seem and what is so partly in virtue of how things seem, I interpret the argument as an attempt to show that philosophers, who attend to what is so independently of how things seem, have knowledge, while the lovers of sights and sound have mere opinion because they attend not to how things are independently of how they seem, but only to how they are in virtue of how they seem. (shrink)
Now I continue the investigation, begun in Homo Quaerens: The Seeker and the Sought, into the generic traits of persons from a philosophic point of view. I treat such special topics of my method, set forth in that book, as bear upon the person's intrapersonal aspects: namely, his body and such of its functions as contribute to his preconscious acts. In particular, I deal with those aspects insofar as they may be construed as straining, so to speak, toward that self-transcendence (...) which culminates in the veridical person - in effect, strands of subpersonal events which contribute to and converge upon his consummate personhood. In consequence, I explore the ontology of the person under the perspective of his naturalistically interpreted makeup; and I conceive my enterprise as propaedeutic to more generalized ontologic topics which I shall take up in subsequent books. (shrink)
To Be Human presents Krishnamurti's radical vision of life in a new way. At the heart of this extraordinary collection are passages from the great teacher's talks that amplify and clarify the nature of truth and those obstacles that often prevent us from seeing it. Most of these core teachings have not been available in print until now. Besides presenting the core of Krishnamurti's message, the book alerts the reader to his innovative use of language, the ways in which he (...) would use "old words with new interpretations," then gives practical examples, showing that we can clarify our understanding of life itself--and act on this new understanding. The splendid introduction by David Skitt discusses Krishnamurti's philosophy as a guide to knowledge and experience, the roles knowledge and experience should play in our lives, and the times when it is best to cast them aside and "look and act anew." The book's source notes will aid the inquisitive reader who wishes a deeper understanding of this great teacher's message. (shrink)
The pursuit of happiness is a long-enshrined tradition that has recently become the cornerstone of the American Positive Psychology movement. However, “happiness” is an over-worked and ambiguous word, which, it is argued, should be restricted and only used as the label for a brief emotional state that typically lasts a few seconds or minutes. The corollary proposal for positive psychology is that optimism is a preferable stance over pessimism or realism. Examples are presented both from psychology and economics that illustrate (...) the dangers of optimism, and in which better outcomes can occur with a pessimistic stance. A more sophisticated approach is then presented in which, in relation to well-being and quality of life, neither optimism nor pessimism is seen as inherently better than the other, but, rather, in which psychological flexibility may contribute optimally to health and well-being. (shrink)
The concept of the ‘well-being of the child’ (like the ‘child’s welfare’ and ‘best interests of the child’) has remained underdetermined in legal and ethical texts on the needs and rights of children. As a hypothetical construct that draws attention to the child’s long-term welfare, the well-being of the child is a broader concept than autonomy and happiness. This paper clarifies some conceptual issues of the well-being of the child from a philosophical point of view. The main question is how (...) well-being could in practice acquire a concrete meaning and content for a particular issue or situation. A phenomenological-hermeneutic research perspective will be outlined that allows the child’s well-being to be elucidated and specified as an anthropological and ethical idea. It is based on a contextual understanding of generative relationships, a combination of the theory and practice of making sense, here described as ‘generative insight’, which could provide ethical guidance for decision making in families, legal practice, medicine or biomedical research. (shrink)
Popular spiritual writer and teacher, Jan Frazier shows how to move from emotional and mental turmoil to quiet joy and happiness in The Freedom of Being: At Ease with What Is. Frazier, the author of the bestselling When Fear Falls Away: The ...
Popular spiritual writer and teacher Jan Frazier shows how to move from emotional and mental turmoil to quiet joy and happiness inThe Freedom of Being: At Ease with What Is. Frazier, the author of the bestsellingWhen Fear Falls Away: The ...
The concept of well-being has emerged as a key category of social and political thought, especially in the fields of moral and political philosophy, development studies, and economics. This book takes a critical look at the notion of well-being by examining what well-being means, or could mean, to people living in a number of different regions including Sudan, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, India, Sierra Leone, and the UK. The contributors take issue with some of the assumptions behind Western concepts of (...) well-being. They explore what characterizes a "good life" and how this idea has been affected by globalization and neoliberalism. The book makes a major contribution to social theory by presenting new analytical models that make sense of the changing shapes of people's life and ethical values. (shrink)
Fales defends the doctrine of the given against the Sellarsian dilemma. On his view, sensory experiences, to which one has direct access, can justify basic beliefs. He upholds this view by way of defending an expansive conception of inference, according to which a broadly inferential relation can hold between sensory experiences and perceptual beliefs. The purpose of this paper is to show that Fales’s defense of the given fails. For this purpose, I argue that there are two requirements for being (...) a good reason, and that his conception of direct apprehension faces a serious dilemma with regard to these requirements. In addition, I argue that his expansive conception of inference is unfounded. (shrink)
This is a small book on a large subject: What is special about human beings? Hamlet mused, ?What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how like a god!? but went on to speak of ?this quintessence of dust?. Helen Oppenheimer prefers to start with the dust and move to the glory: we really are animals ? and from these animals has come Shakespeare. People are indeed ?miserable sinners? ? and also magnificent creatures. The author does not (...) disguise that she is a Christian theologian whose subject is ethics, but she writes equally for non-Christians. Her invitation to the reader is: Here is a way of looking at things that I find exciting and convincing ? I hope you do too. (shrink)
The children of today live in a time when the images of themselves and their childhood, their needs, interests, and skills, are discussed, researched, challenged, and changed. Childhood, education and educational settings for young children are to a great extent governed by temporality. In this paper, temporality and temporal notions in education are explored and discussed. We especially illuminate two different ways of thinking about children in education and care for younger children in the West— the predominant biased notions of (...) the child as becoming or being. The child as becoming, is manifested primarily in classical developmental psychology while the notion of the child as being, has been highlighted mainly by sociological researchers in their critique of developmental psychology. This latter notion is also visible in a totally different manner in the philosophy of Rousseau, emphasizing the free and natural child. In addition, we explore an alternative way of thinking about temporality and children. Drawing upon the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Gilles Deleuze, we argue for a rethinking of temporality beyond linear views on time and biased notions of children as ‘either or’. A movement towards a perspective which not only combines notions, but where the whole is more than merely the sum of the parts, is proposed. This leads to an ambiguous, intertwined and ongoing connection between the temporal notions of have been, being and becoming, described by a novel concept—a chiasmic be(com)ing. We suggest that this alternative may be a fruitful way to overcome binary approaches and expand the discussion of temporality, and temporal notions of children, in education. Such an alternative could function as a counterweight to the predominant notions of education and teachers’ work. It may also be seen as a significant foundation for an ethical education since it is built upon ongoing and intertwined relationships, which appreciate openness and unpredictability. (shrink)
I take myself to be a physicalist. I hold that all facts, including such prima facie non-physical facts as mental and biological facts, metaphysically supervene on the physical facts. However, I do not have any views about the relationship between macroscopic and microscopic facts. I am neutral on such questions as whether big things are always made of small things. Recently I have become worried about this combination of views. This is because many other philosophers seem to think of physicalism (...) as some kind of commitment to the primacy of the microscopic. In their view, physicalism doesn’t just say that everything is physical. It also says that everything is microscopically determined. Here are some representative quotations. (shrink)
Prologue : on the freedom of non-identity -- Otherwise than human (toward sovereignty) -- What is human recognition? (on zones of indistinction) -- Desubjectivation (Michel Foucault's aesthetics of experience) -- Becoming animal (some simple ways) -- Derrida's cat (who am I?).
In the scientist's lair -- The mysterious power -- The ghost in the machine -- The mechanics of mind -- Consciousness emerges -- How to build a mind -- Turing's test of consciousness -- Supremacy of the machines -- The Chinese room -- Demons in the brain -- Describing the indescribable -- March of the zombies -- The denial of consciousness -- The limits of computation -- A new generation.
Many international business training programs present a viewpoint of cultural relativism that encourages business people to adapt to the host country's culture. This paper presents an argument that cultural relativism is not always appropriate for business ethics; rather, a code of conduct must be adapted which presents guidelines for core ethical business conduct across cultures. Both moral and economic evidence is provided to support the argument for a universal code of ethics. Also, four steps are presented that will help ensure (...) that company ethical standards are followed internationally. (shrink)
It is always awkward when someone asks me informally what I’m working on and I answer that I’m trying to figure out what gender is. For outside a rather narrow segment of the academic world, the term ‘gender’ has come to function as the polite way to talk about the sexes. And one thing people feel pretty confident about is their knowledge of the difference between males and females. Males are those human beings with a range of familiar primary and (...) secondary sex characteristics, most important being the penis; females are those with a different set, most important being the vagina or, perhaps, the uterus. Enough said. Against this background, it isn’t clear what could be the point of an inquiry, especially a philosophical inquiry, into “what gender is”. (shrink)
I distill three somewhat interrelated approaches to the ethical criticism of humor: (1) attitude-based theories, (2) merited-response theories, and (3) emotional responsibility theories. I direct the brunt of my effort at showing the limitations of the attitudinal endorsement theory by presenting new criticisms of Ronald de Sousa’s position. Then, I turn to assess the strengths of the other two approaches, showing that that their major formulations implicitly require the problematic attitudinal endorsement theory. I argue for an effects-mediated responsibility theory , (...) holding that the strongest ethical criticism that can be made of our sense of humor is that it might indicate some omission on our part. This omission could only be culpable in so far as a particular joke could do harm to oneself or others. In response to Ted Cohen’s doubts that such a mechanism of harm is forthcoming, I argue that the primary vehicle of the harmful effects of humor is laughter. (shrink)
The standard view about counterfactuals is that a counterfactual (A > C) is true if and only if the A-worlds most similar to the actual world @ are C-worlds. I argue that the worlds conception of counterfactuals is wrong. I assume that counterfactuals have non-trivial truth-values under physical determinism. I show that the possible-worlds approach cannot explain many embeddings of the form (P > (Q > R)), which intuitively are perfectly assertable, and which must be true if the contingent falsity (...) of (Q > R) is to be explained. If (P > (Q > R)) has a backtracking reading then the contingent facts that (Q > R) needs to be true in the closest P-worlds are absent. If (P > (Q > R)) has a forwardtracking reading, then the laws required by (Q > R) to be true in the closest P-worlds will be absent, because they are violated in those worlds. Solutions like lossy laws or denial of embedding won't work. The only approach to counterfactuals that explains the embedding is a pragmatic metalinguistic approach in which the whole idea that counterfactuals are about a modal reality, be it abstract or concrete, is given up. (shrink)
In this chapter I seek to examine the credibility of Finnis’s basic stance on Aquinas that while many neo-Thomists are meta-ethically naturalistic in their understanding of natural law theory (for example, Heinrich Rommen, Henry Veatch, Ralph McInerny, Russell Hittinger, Benedict Ashley and Anthony Lisska), Aquinas’s own meta-ethical framework avoids the “pitfall” of naturalism. On examination, the short of it is that I find Finnis’s account (while adroit) wanting in the interpretation stakes vis-à-vis other accounts of Aquinas’s meta-ethical foundationalism. I think (...) that the neo-Thomists are basically right to argue that for Aquinas we cannot really understand objective truths about moral standards unless we derive them from our intellective knowledge of natural facts as given to us by the essential human nature that we have. While I find Finnis’s interpretative position on Aquinas wanting, I go on to argue that his own attachment to non-naturalism is justified and should not be jettisoned. Because I think non-naturalism important to the future tenability of a viable natural law ethics (an ethics that is both cognitive and objectivist), I argue that Finnis should, so to speak, “beef up” his “fundamental option” for non-naturalism and more fully avail himself of certain argumentative strategies available in its defense, argumentative strategies that are inspired by the analytical philosophy of G.E. Moore. (shrink)
I give two arguments for the claim that all events which occur at the actual world and are such that they could be caused, are also such that they must actually be caused. The first argument is an improvement of a similar argument advanced by Alexander Pruss, which I show to be invalid. It uses Pruss’s Brouwer Analog for counterfactual logic, and, as a consequence, implies inconsistency with Lewis’s semantics for counterfactuals. While (I suggest) this consequence may not be objectionable, (...) the argument founders on the fact that Pruss’s Brouwer Analog has a clear counterexample. I thus turn to a second, “Lewisian” argument, which requires only an affirmation of one element of Lewis’s analysis of causation and one other, fairly weak possibility claim about the nature of wholly contingent events. The final section of the paper explains how both arguments escape objections from supposed indeterminacy in quantum physics. (shrink)
The aim of this work is to show that the reality is not only the world of being, it is equally the world of non-being. Such an approach, as I think, is not nihilism, on the contrary - it helps to resolve many problems and contradictions confusing the philosophical mind. The reader will not find any citations or references in this work because I tried to bring it closer to Philosophy as it used to be in its early stages and (...) from which it has departed so far nowadays. (shrink)
The project that Dan Lloyd has undertaken is admirable and audacious. He has tried to boil down the substrate of information-processing that underlies conscious experience to some very simple elements, in order to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon. Some people will suspect that by considering a model as simple as a connectionist network, Dan has thrown away everything that is interesting about consciousness. Perhaps there is something to that complaint, but I will take a different tack. It seems (...) to me that if we apply his own reasoning, we can see that Dan has not taken things far _enough_. When we have boiled things down to a system as simple as a connectionist network, it seems faint-hearted to stop there, and perhaps a little arbitrary as well. So I will take things further, and ask what seems to be the really interesting question in the vicinity: what is it like to be a thermostat? (shrink)
Normativity involves two kinds of relation. On the one hand, there is the relation of being a reason for. This is a relation between a fact and an attitude. On the other hand, there are relations specified by requirements of rationality. These are relations among a person's attitudes, viewed in abstraction from the reasons for them. I ask how the normativity of rationality—the sense in which we ‘ought’ to comply with requirements of rationality—is related to the normativity of reasons—the sense (...) in which we ‘ought’ to have the attitudes what we have conclusive reason to have. The normativity of rationality is not straightforwardly that of reasons, I argue; there are no reasons to comply with rational requirements in general. First, this would lead to ‘bootstrapping’, because, contrary to the claims of John Broome, not all rational requirements have ‘wide scope’. Second, it is unclear what such reasons to be rational might be. Finally, we typically do not, and in many cases could not, treat rational requirements as reasons. Instead, I suggest, rationality is only apparently normative, and the normativity that it appears to have is that of reasons. According to this ‘Transparency Account’, rational requirements govern our responses to our beliefs about reasons. The normative ‘pressure’ that we feel, when rational requirements apply to us, derives from these beliefs: from the reasons that, as it seems to us, we have. (shrink)
Claims that pornography cannot be art typically depend on controversial claims about essential value differences (moral, aesthetic) between pornography and art. In this paper, I offer a value-neutral exclusionary claim, showing pornography to be descriptively at odds with art. I then show how my view is an improvement on similar claims made by Jerrold Levinson. Finally I draw parallels between art and pornography and art and advertising as well as show that my view is consistent with our typical usage of (...) the term “pornographic art.”. (shrink)
Disjunctivism about perceptual appearances, as I conceive of it, is a theory which seeks to preserve a naïve realist conception of veridical perception in the light of the challenge from the argument from hallucination. The naïve realist claims that some sensory experiences are relations to mind-independent objects. That is to say, taking experiences to be episodes or events, the naïve realist supposes that some such episodes have as constituents mind-independent objects. In turn, the disjunctivist claims that in a case of (...) veridical perception like this very kind of experience that you now have, the experiential episode you enjoy is of a kind which could not be occurring were you having an hallucination. The common strategy of arguments from hallucination set out to show that certain things are true of hallucinations, and hence must be true of perceptions. For example, it is argued that hallucinations must have non-physical objects of awareness, or that such states are not relations to anything at all, but are at best seeming relations to objects. In insisting that veridical perceptual experience is of a distinct kind from hallucination, the disjunctivist denies that any of these conceptions of hallucination challenges our conception of veridical perceptions as relations to mind-independent objects. More specifically, I assume that the disjunctivist advocates naïve realism because they think that this position best articulates how sensory experience seems to us to be just through reflection. If the disjunctivist is correct in this contention, then anyone who accepts the conclusion of the argument from hallucination must also accept that the nature of sensory experience is other than it seems to us to be. In turn, one may complain that any such error theory is liable to lead to sceptical consequences. A Humean scepticism about the senses launches a challenge about our knowledge of the world through questioning the conception we have of what sense experience is, and how it can provide knowledge of the world.. (shrink)
In On What Matters Derek Parfit argues that we need to make a significant reassessment of the relationship between some central positions in moral philosophy, because, contrary to received opinion, Kantians, contractualists and consequentialists are all 'climbing the same mountain on different sides'. In Parfit's view Kant's own attempt to outline an account of moral obligation fails, but when it is modified in ways entirely congenial to his thinking, a defensible Kantian contractualism can be produced, which survives the objections which (...) are fatal for Kant's own theory. This form of contractualism would then lead rational agents to choose consequentialist moral principles. I argue that Parfit significantly misrepresents Kant's project in moral philosophy, and that no genuinely Kantian moral theory could issue in a form of consequentialism. (shrink)
Nietzsche implicitly endorses a positive value system grounded in his concept of the will to power, a “noble” alternative to the “slavish” and life-denying values that he believes characterize modern European morality. His own power-affirming value system is usually presented amorally: as an alternative to morality, rather than as a competing morality. Most commentators believe this is necessarily so: because Nietzsche founds his values in the affirmation of power, they are incompatible with the concern for the well-being of others that (...) is characteristic of any authentic morality. This paper argues, on the contrary, that Nietzsche’s noble, power-affirming values are fully compatible with morality. It defends this view by rejecting two common misconceptions about Nietzsche’s philosophy: 1) the view that Nietzsche’s concept of the will to power is inseparable from domination, and 2) the view that noble values require and actively promote social hierarchy. (shrink)
One of the striking, even amusing, spectacles to be enjoyed at the many workshops and conferences on consciousness these days is the breathtaking overconfidence with which laypeople hold forth about the nature of consciousness Btheir own in particular, but everybody =s by extrapolation. Everybody =s an expert on consciousness, it seems, and it doesn =t take any knowledge of experimental findings to secure the home truths these people enunciate with such conviction.
1.1 Bilateral damage to the thalamus abolishes waking consciousness. The critical site of this damage is believed to be a relatively small cluster of neurons, about the size of a pencil eraser on either side of the brain's midline, called the Intra-Laminar Nuclei (ILN) because they are located inside the white layers (laminae) that divide the two thalami into their major groupings of nuclei. The fact that bilateral damage to the ILNs abolishes consciousness is very unusual. There is no other (...) site in the brain that has this property, except the reticular formation in the brain stem. In contrast, huge chunks of cortex can be damaged without abolishing the STATE of consciousness. (Cortical damage does change the CONTENTS of consciousness, of course). (shrink)
There is a common belief that non-being and nothingness are identical, a widespread, even general delusion the wrongness of which I will try to demonstrate in this work. And which I consider even more important, that is to define nothingness for further determination of “its” place and role in the reality and especially in human life.
A "machine" is any causal physical system, hence we are machines, hence machines can be conscious. The question is: which kinds of machines can be conscious? Chances are that robots that can pass the Turing Test -- completely indistinguishable from us in their behavioral capacities -- can be conscious (i.e. feel), but we can never be sure (because of the "other-minds" problem). And we can never know HOW they have minds, because of the "mind/body" problem. We can only know how (...) they pass the Turing Test, but not how, why or whether that makes them feel. (shrink)
College students implicitly judge interracial sex and gay sex to be morally wrong Some moral intuitions arise from psychological processes that are not fully accessible to consciousness. For instance, most people disapprove of consensual adult incest between siblings, but are unable to articulate why—they just feel that it is wrong (Haidt, 2001). More generally, there is evidence for at least two sources of moral judgment: explicit conscious reasoning and tacit intuitions, which are motivated by emotional responses (Greene et al., 2001) (...) and learned associations (Greenwald & Banaji, 1995). (shrink)
More and more people seem to think that constructivism - in political philosophy, in moral philosophy, and perhaps in practical reasoning most generally - is the way to go. And yet it is surprisingly hard to even characterize the view. In this paper, I go to some lengths trying to capture the essence of a constructivist position - mostly in the realm of practical reason - and to pinpoint its theoretical attractions. I then give some reason to suspect that there (...) cannot be a coherent constructivist view about practical reason as a whole, at least not if it is to be interestingly constructivist, in a sense I make reasonably precise. (shrink)
The paper deals with the possibility of a theory of the nature of law as such, a theory which will be necessarily true of all law. It explores the relations between explanations of concepts and of the things they are concepts of, the possibility that the law has essential properties, and the possibility that the law changes its nature over time, and that what is law at a given place and time depends on the culture and concepts of that place (...) and time. It also considers the possibility of understanding the institutions, such as the law, of cultures whose concepts are alien to us. The position advocated offers a reconciliation of ways in which a theory of the nature of law is parochial with its claim to be universal. (shrink)
Negative causation occurs when an absence serves as cause, effect, or causal intermediary. Negative causation is genuine causation, or so I shall argue. It involves no physical connection between cause and effect. Thus causes need not be physically connected to their effects.
being, culminating in the technological understanding of being, in order to help us understand and overcome our current way of dealing with things as objects and resources, Foucault analyzes several regimes of power, culminating in modern bio-power, in order to help us free ourselves from understanding ourselves as subjects.
In Being and Time, Heidegger affirms that being-with or Mitsein is an essential constitution of Dasein but he does not submit this existential to the same rigorous analyses as other existentials. In this essay, Jean-Luc Nancy points to the different places where Heidegger erased the possibility of thinking an essential with that he himself opened. This erasure is due, according to Nancy, to the subordination of Mitsein to a thinking of the proper and the improper. The polarization of Being-with between (...) an improper face, the Anyone, and a proper one, the people, which is also, as Nancy shows, a polarization between everydayness and historicity, between a being-together in exteriority (indifference and anonymity) and a being-together in interiority (union through destiny), between a solitary dying and the sacrificial death in combat, leaves the essential with unthought. This essay shows not only the tensions that arise out of Heidegger’s own analyses of Mitsein and affect the whole of Being and Time but also underlines in the end a “shortfall in thinking” inherent not only to Heidegger’s work but, as Nancy claims, to our Western tradition, a shortfall which Nancy has attempted to remedy in his Being Singular Plural. (shrink)
Professional philosophers are members of bioethical committees and regulatory bodies in areas of interest to bioethicists. This suggests they possess moral expertise even if they do not exercise it directly and without constraint. Moral expertise is defined, and four arguments given in support of scepticism about their possession of such expertise are considered and rejected: the existence of extreme disagreement between moral philosophers about moral matters; the lack of a means clearly to identify moral experts; that expertise cannot be claimed (...) in that which lacks objectivity; and that ordinary people do not follow the advice of moral experts.I offer a better reason for scepticism grounded in the relation between moral philosophy and common-sense morality: namely that modern moral philosophy views even a developed moral theory as ultimately anchored in common-sense morality, that set of basic moral precepts which ordinary individuals have command of and use to regulate their own lives.Even if moral philosophers do nevertheless have a limited moral expertise, in that they alone can fully develop a set of moral judgments, I sketch reasons – grounded in the values of autonomy and of democracy – why moral philosophers should not wish non-philosophers to defer to their putative expertise. (shrink)
I am attracted to ontological pluralism, the doctrine that some things exist in a different way than other things.1 For the ontological pluralist, there is more to learn about an object’s existential status than merely whether it is or is not: there is still the question of how that entity exists. By contrast, according to the ontological monist, either something is or it isn’t, and that’s all there is say about a thing’s existential status. We appear to be to be (...) ontological committed to what I will call almost nothings. Examples of almost nothings include holes, cracks, and shadows; almost nothings thrive in the absence of ‘positive’ entities such as donuts, walls, and sunlight. Let’s focus on holes, since the literature on them is voluminous.2 We quantify over holes, and even count them: we say, for example, that there are some holes in the cheese, seven to be precise. We ascribe features to them and talk as though they stand in relations: that hole is three feet wide, much wider than that tire over there. Holes apparently persist through time, as evidenced by the fact that my sweater has the same hole in it as the last time you saw me wear it. We even talk as though holes are causally efficacious: my ankle was badly sprained because I stepped in that hole in the sidewalk.3 It seems then that we believe in holes. If our beliefs are true, holes must enjoy some kind of reality. This puts the ontological monist in an uncomfortable position. According to her, everything that there is enjoys the same kind of reality, which is the kind of reality enjoyed by full-fledged concrete entities such as ourselves. She is committed to the unpleasant claim that holes are just as real as concretia, a claim that is apt to be met with incredulous stares by those not acquainted with contemporary metaphysics. Roy Sorensen (2008, p. 19) notes the tension almost nothings generate for ontological monists: ‘… it feels paradoxical to say that absences exist—but no better to say that absences do not exist’.. (shrink)
An important advance in normativity research over the last decade is an increased understanding of the distinction, and difference, between normativity and rationality. Normativity concerns or picks out a broad set of concepts that have in common that they are, put loosely, guiding. For example, consider two commonly used normative concepts: that of a normative reason and that of ought. To have a normative reason to perform some action is for there to be something that counts in favour of performing (...) that action. Likewise with ought, when there is sufficient evidence for something, one ought to believe it (at least under normal circumstances). Not all guidance need be directed towards a specific state or a specific action. Subject to the requirements of normativity, too, are relations. It is commonly believed, for example, that we ought not to hold contradictory beliefs.1 At least some of the requirements that concern relations amongst an agent’s mental states are, or seem, distinctive. Agents who fail to satisfy these requirements are considered, at least to some degree, irrational. On many current views, being irrational is distinct in some way from not being how one ought to be; rationality is a concept distinct from normativity. Much of the literature on this topic over the last decade stems from attempts to capture the characteristic features of the requirements of rationality. Two influential views in particular did much to set the agenda. The first of these two was put forward John Broome.2 His view, the particulars of which I shall discuss in more detail below, is that the requirements of rationality could be expressed using a normative relation, which he calls a ‘normative requirement’. Normative requirements are conditionals governed by an all-thingsconsidered ought. In the case of rationality, the conditional is made up entirely of mental states.. (shrink)
In his magnum opus Being and Event, Alain Badiou identifies ontology with mathematics and uses a mathematical formalization of ontological discourse to generate an account of extra-ontological 'truth-events'. Informed by deconstructive critiques of the metaphysical ontologies of presence, Badiou establishes an anti-phenomenological conception of ontological presentation. Presentation's internal structure is that of an anti-phenomenon: presence's necessarily empty and insubstantial contrary. But the result is that Being and Event is riven by a fundamental methodological idealism. Badiou cannot secure the connection he (...) wishes to establish between the formal discursive structure of mathematical ontology and extra-discursive reality. The decisive link between being and event, i.e. between Badiou's purely formal conception of ontological presentation and the extra-ontological reality of the event, is precluded by the very structure of the concept of presentation which is central to Badiou's argument. (shrink)
Kant's speculative theistic proof rests on a distinction between “logical” and “real” modality that he developed very early in the pre-critical period. The only way to explain facts about real possibility, according to Kant, is to appeal to the properties of a unique, necessary, and “most real” being. Here I reconstruct the proof in its historical context, focusing on the role played by the theory of modality both in motivating the argument (in the pre-critical period) and, ultimately, in undoing it (...) as a source of knowledge of God's existence (in the critical period). Along the way I examine Kant's version of the now-popular “actualist” thesis that facts about what is possible must be explained by facts about what is actual. I conclude by discussing why the critical Kant claims both that there are rational grounds for accepting the conclusion of his theistic proof, and that such acceptance can not count as knowledge. This is important, I argue, because the same considerations ultimately motivate his prohibition on knowledge of things-in-themselves generally. -/- . (shrink)
I discuss Husserl’s account of intersubjectivity in the fifth Cartesian Meditation. I focus on the problem of perceived similarity. I argue that recent work in developmental psychology and neuroscience, concerning intermodal representation and the mirror neuron system, fails to constitute a naturalistic solution to the problem. This can be seen via a comparison between the Husserlian project on the one hand and Molyneux’s Question on the other.
We have noted some fundamental distinctions between types of goodness or value. There is usefulness, or merely instrumental goodness, the value that something may have as a means to something else that is good or that is valued. Usefulness has an obvious importance, and connects with significant philosophical issues about instrumentality and probability; but more fundamental issues for ethical theory are posed by the goods or ends that the useful is to serve. Within the realm of what is good for (...) its own sake, and not just instrumentally good, most contemporary ethical thought focuses mainly on well-being or welfare-that is, on the nature of human flourishing or what is good for a person. The theory developed here, however, gives a primary place to excellence-the type of goodness exemplified by the beauty of a sunset, a painting, or a mathematical proof, or by the greatness of a novel, the nobility of an unselfish deed, or the quality of an athletic or a philosophical performance. It is the goodness of that which is worthy of love or admiration, honor or worship, rather than the good (for herself) that is possessed by one who is fortunate or happy, as such (though happiness may also be excellent, and worthy of admiration). (shrink)
"Well-being" signifies the good life, the life which is good for the person whose life it is. I have argued that well-being consists in a wholehearted and successful pursuit of valuable relationships and goals. This view, a little modified, is defended , but the main aim of the article is to consider the role of well-being in practical thought. In particular I will examine a suggestion which says that when we care about people, and when we ought to care about (...) people, what we do, or ought to, care about is their well-being. The suggestion is indifferent to who cares and who is cared for. People may care, perhaps ought to care, about themselves, and they may care, perhaps ought to care, about people with whom they have, or ought to have special bonds, and finally they may care, perhaps ought to care, about other people generally. In all cases what they care, or ought to care, about is the wellbeing of the relevant people, themselves or others. I will argue that the suggestion is misleading, and the role of well-being in both personal and ethical life is much more modest. (shrink)
In their recent book Every Thing Must Go Ladyman and Ross (Ladyman et al. 2007) claim: (1) Physics is analytically complete since it is the only science that cannot be left incomplete (cf. Ladyman et al. 2007, 283). (2) There might not be an ontologically fundamental level (cf. Ladyman et al. 2007, 178). (3) We should not admit anything into our ontology unless it has explanatory and predictive utility (cf. Ladyman et al. 2007, 179). In this discussion note I aim (...) to show that the ontological commitment in (3) implies that the completeness of no science can be achieved where no fundamental level exists. Therefore, if claim (1) requires a science to actually be complete in order to be considered as physics, (1), and if Ladyman and Ross’s “tentative metaphysical hypothesis […] that there is no fundamental level” (178) is true, (2), then there simply is no physics. Ladyman and Ross can, however, avoid this unwanted result if they merely require physics to ever strive for completeness rather than to already be complete. (shrink)
David Chalmers argues that consciousness -- authentic, first-person, conscious consciousness -- cannot be reduced to brain events or to any physical event, and that efforts to find a workable mind-body identity theory are, therefore, doomed in principle. But for Chalmers and non-reductionist in general consciousness consists exclusively, or at least paradigmatically, of phenomenal or qualia-consciousness. This results in a seriously inadequate understanding both of consciousness and of the “hard problem.” I describe other, higher-order cognitional events which must be conscious if (...) the “hard problem” is to be solved -- in any sense of ‘solve’ which would make us any the wiser about it -- but whose consciousness is quite different from the qualia and phenomena usually inventoried. Events of this kind are both part of the hard problem and the means by which we will solve it, if we ever do. -/- . (shrink)