In 1962, the philosopher Richard Taylor used six commonly accepted presuppositions to imply that human beings have no control over the future. David Foster Wallace not only took issue with Taylor's method, which, according to him, scrambled the relations of logic, language, and the physical world, but also noted a semantic trick at the heart of Taylor's argument. -/- Fate, Time, and Language presents Wallace's brilliant critique of Taylor's work. Written long before the publication of his fiction and (...) essays, Wallace's thesis reveals his great skepticism of abstract thinking made to function as a negation of something more genuine and real. He was especially suspicious of certain paradigms of thought-the cerebral aestheticism of modernism, the clever gimmickry of postmodernism-that abandoned "the very old traditional human verities that have to do with spirituality and emotion and community." As Wallace rises to meet the challenge to free will presented by Taylor, we witness the developing perspective of this major novelist, along with his struggle to establish solid logical ground for his convictions. This volume, edited by Steven M. Cahn and Maureen Eckert, reproduces Taylor's original article and other works on fatalism cited by Wallace. James Ryerson's introduction connects Wallace's early philosophical work to the themes and explorations of his later fiction, and Jay Garfield supplies a critical biographical epilogue. (shrink)
R. Jay Wallace argues in this book that moral accountability hinges on questions of fairness: When is it fair to hold people morally responsible for what they do? Would it be fair to do so even in a deterministic world? To answer these questions, we need to understand what we are doing when we hold people morally responsible, a stance that Wallace connects with a central class of moral sentiments, those of resentment, indignation, and guilt. To hold someone (...) responsible, he argues, is to be subject to these reactive emotions in one's dealings with that person. Developing this theme with unusual sophistication, he offers a new interpretation of the reactive emotions and traces their role in our practices of blame and moral sanction. With this account in place, Wallace advances a powerful and sustained argument against the common view that accountability requires freedom of will. Instead, he maintains, the fairness of holding people responsible depends on their rational competence: the power to grasp moral reasons and to control their behavior accordingly. He shows how these forms of rational competence are compatible with determinism. At the same time, giving serious consideration to incompatibilist concerns, Wallace develops a compelling diagnosis of the common assumption that freedom is necessary for responsibility. Rigorously argued, eminently readable, this book touches on issues of broad concern to philosophers, legal theorists, political scientists, and anyone with an interest in the nature and limits of responsibility. (shrink)
Normativity and the Will collects fourteen important papers on moral psychology and practical reason by R. Jay Wallace, one of the leading philosophers currently working in these areas. The papers explore the interpenetration of normative and psychological issues in a series of debates that lie at the heart of moral philosophy. Themes that are addressed include reason, desire, and the will; responsibility, identification, and emotion; and the relation between morality and other normative domains. Wallace's treatments of these topics (...) are at once sophisticated and engaging. Taken together, they constitute an advertisement for a distinctive way of pursuing issues in moral psychology and the theory of practical reason, and they articulate and defend a unified framework for thinking about those issues. The volume also features a helpful new introduction. (shrink)
I develop the decision-theoretic approach to quantum probability, originally proposed by David Deutsch, into a mathematically rigorous proof of the Born rule in (Everett-interpreted) quantum mechanics. I sketch the argument informally, then prove it formally, and lastly consider a number of proposed ``counter-examples'' to show exactly which premises of the argument they violate. (This is a preliminary version of a chapter to appear --- under the title ``How to prove the Born Rule'' --- in Saunders, Barrett, Kent and Wallace, (...) "Many worlds? Everett, quantum theory and reality", forthcoming from Oxford University Press.). (shrink)
Wallace, Meg London's National Theatre recently hosted a debate about freedom of speech, multiculturalism and Islam called Can we talk about this? The opening line was a question to the audience, 'Are you morally superior to the Taliban?' Anne Marie Waters, who was present, wrote in her blog that 'very few people in the audience raised their hand to say they were.' This response demonstrates a misconceived attempt to be seen as tolerant and 'multiculturalist'. People could not bring themselves (...) to say their views are morally superior to a group that, Waters points out, 'denies women medical treatment, imprisons them in their homes, allows domestic violence, and executes people by stoning for having a private life or the audacity to not believe in God.' They fear being labelled, racist, 'Islamophobic', or discriminating against religion. Rather, they adopt a stance that treats all moral views generated by culture or religion as equally valid ('cultural relativism'). They confuse the distinction between the right to think as you want, and the right to act as you want. (shrink)
Wallace, Max On 20 June 2012 the High Court of Australia handed down their decision in Willliams v The Commonwealth. The case concerned the question of whether it was unconstitutional for the federal government to fund religious chaplains in public schools. The argument against the funding was on technical, financial grounds. The government had avoided making a law in the parliament to fund the chaplains. That way, they were able to avoid a legal complaint that the funding breached Australia's (...) s.116, the section in the constitution that mimics America's First Amendment. The funding therefore would avoid a major dispute over separation of church and state. (shrink)
Wallace, Max At the Atheist Foundation of Australia (AFA) Convention in Melbourne on 14 April this year Geoffrey Robertson QC turned his mind to the tax-exempt status of religion. He joked that, Atheist foundations could qualify for tax exemption by declaring their belief in Christopher Hitchens! Turn him into an L. Ron Hubbard figure to be worshipped through his sacred books! It got a good laugh. It never occurred to Robertson, or the Convention audience, that the AFA, like all (...) religions in Australia with a supernatural belief, might already be tax-exempt. (shrink)
Wallace, Max I respond here to David Nicholls November 2012 Facebook posting in response to my article 'Non-religious tax avoidance' in the Summer issue of AH, No. 108, 2012 where I reviewed how it was the Atheist Foundation of Australia came to have tax-exempt status and whether that was appropriate.
Cloning Human Embryos for Spare Tissue An Ethical Dilemma Content Type Journal Article Pages 22-23 Authors Donald Bruce, Religion and Technology Project, Church of Scotland, John Knox House, 45 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR, Scotland Journal Human Reproduction & Genetic Ethics Online ISSN 2043-0469 Print ISSN 1028-7825 Journal Volume Volume 8 Journal Issue Volume 8, Number 2 / 2002.
Sacred Games, Death, and Renewal in the Ancient Eastern Woodlands Content Type Journal Article Category Review Pages 507-509 DOI 10.1558/jcr.v11i4.507 Authors Sandra Wallace, Artefact Heritage, Po Box 772 Rose Bay, NSW 2029 Journal Journal of Critical Realism Online ISSN 1572-5138 Print ISSN 1476-7430 Journal Volume Volume 11 Journal Issue Volume 11, Number 4 / 2012.
Dewey Wallace tells the story of several prominent English Calvinist actors and thinkers in the first generations after the beginning of the Restoration. In the midst of conflicts between Church and Dissent and the intellectual challenges of the dawning age of Enlightenment, these five individuals and groups dealt with deism, anti-Trinitarianism, and scoffing atheism - usually understood as godlessness - by choosing different emphases in their defense and promotion of Calvinist piety and theology. In each case there was not (...) only persistence in an earlier Calvinist trajectory, but also a transformation of the Calvinist heritage into a new mode of thinking and acting. The different paths taken illustrate the rich variety of English Calvinism in the period. This study offers description and analysis of the mystical Calvinism of Peter Sterry, the hermeticist Calvinism of Theophilus Gale, the evangelical Calvinism of Joseph Alleine and the circle that promoted his legacy, the natural theology of the moderate Calvinist Presbyterians Richard Baxter, William Bates, and John Howe, and the Church of England Calvinism of John Edwards. Wallace seeks to overturn conventional clichés about Calvinism: that it was anti-mystical, that it allowed no scope for the ''ancient theology'' that characterized much of Renaissance learning, that its piety was harshly predestinarian, that it was uninterested in natural theology, and that it had been purged from the established church by the end of the seventeenth century. Shapers of English Calvinism, 1660-1714 illuminates the religious and intellectual history of the era between the Reformation and modernity, offering fascinating insight into the development of Calvinism and also into English Puritanism as it transitioned into Dissent. (shrink)
T. M. Scanlon's magisterial book What We Owe to Each Other is surely one of the most sophisticated and important works of moral philosophy to have appeared for many years. It raises fundamental questions about all the main aspects of the subject, and I hope and expect that it will have a decisive influence on the shape and direction of moral philosophy in the years to come. In this essay I shall focus on four sets of issues raised by Scanlon's (...) systematic argument, with the aim of clarifying some of Scanlon's central assumptions and presenting alternatives at several key points. The perspective from which I offer these comments is that of a reader who is sympathetic to Scanlon's general approach but not yet convinced on various points of detail. (shrink)
Rational agency may be thought of as intentional activity that is guided by the agent's conception of what they have reason to do. The paper identifies and assesses three approaches to this phenomenon, which I call internalism, meta-internalism, and volitionalism. Internalism accounts for rational motivation by appeal to substantive desires of the agent's that are conceived as merely given; I argue that it fails to do full justice to the phenomenon of guidance by one's conception of one's reasons. Meta-internalism explains (...) this phenomenon by postulating higher-order dispositions, consitutive of (rational) agency itself, which causally interact with the agent's normative beliefs to produce corresponding motivations to action. I show that meta-internalism comes to grief over cases of akrasia, insofar as it leaves no room for the capacity for rational guidance when agents voluntarily act at variance with their judgments about what they have reason to do. Volitionalism, I contend, improves on both internalism and meta-internalism. Its distinctive feature is the postulation of a kind of motivation that is directly subject to the agent's control, and independent of the dispositions and desires to which the agent is passively subject. (shrink)
It is both common and natural to think of addiction as a kind of defect of the will. Addicts, we tend to suppose, are subject to impulses or cravings that are peculiarly unresponsive to their evaluative reflection about what there is reason for them to do. As a result of this unresponsiveness, we further suppose, addicts are typically impaired in their ability to act in accordance with their own deliberative conclusions. My question in this paper is whether we can make (...) adequate sense of this conception of addiction as a volitional defect. In particular, I want to focus on some philosophical assumptions, from the theory of action, that bear directly on the very idea that addiction might impair the agent’s volitional capacities. Understanding this idea, I shall argue, requires that we start out with an adequate conception of the human will. Only if we appreciate the kinds of volitional capacities characteristic of normal agents can we conceptualize properly the impairment of those capacities represented by addiction, and assess the implications of such impairment for questions of responsibility. (shrink)
What are the comparative roles of reason and the passions in explaining human motivation and behaviour? Accounts of practical reason divide on this central question, with proponents of different views falling into rationalist and Humean camps. By 'rationalist' accounts of practical reason, I mean accounts which make the characteristically Kantian claim that pure reason can be practical in its issue. To reject this view is to take the Humean position that reasoning or ratiocination is not by itself capable of giving (...) rise to a motivation to act. My own view is that the rationalist position can, in the end, be sustained against the challenge of these Humean arguments. To see why, however, it will be necessary to get clear about what is really at stake in the debate about practical reason. A further aim of my discussion will accordingly be to sharpen our understanding of the issue that divides Humeans and rationalists. (shrink)
Abstract: Suppose you are somewhat persuaded by the arguments for Eliminative Materialism, but are put off by the view itself. For instance, you might be sympathetic to one or more of the following considerations: (1) that folk psychology is a bad theory and will be soon replaced by cognitive science or neuroscience, (2) that folk psychology will never be vindicated by cognitive science, (3) that folk psychology makes ontological commitments to weird or spooky things that no proper science will admit (...) the existence of, (4) that folk psychology seems to lead to a sort of epiphenomenalism (which is yet another thing that’s weird and spooky), and (5) that folk psychology seems to lead to the conclusion that mental content is either determined by things outside the head or is completely indeterminate, neither of which is appealing. Yet in spite of your sympathy for any one of (1)-(5), you may nonetheless cringe at the consequence of them—that is, you may be unwilling to accept the Eliminative Materialist’s radical claim that (i) there are no beliefs, desires, etc., and (ii) we should stop all talk to that quantifies to the contrary. To relieve the conflict, I propose Mental Fictionalism: the view that we are fictionalists about mental states. (shrink)
This paper addresses some connections between conceptions of the will and the theory of practical reason. The first two sections argue against the idea that volitional commitments should be understood along the lines of endorsement of normative principles. A normative account of volition cannot make sense of akrasia, and it obscures an important difference between belief and intention. Sections three and four draw on the non-normative conception of the will in an account of instrumental rationality. The central problem is to (...) explain the grip of instrumental requirements even in cases in which agents do not fully endorse the ends they are pursuing. The solution I propose appeals to coherence constraints on the beliefs that condition the distinctive volitional stance of intention. (shrink)
Practical reason is the general human capacity for resolving, through reflection, the question of what one is to do. Deliberation of this kind is practical in at least two senses. First, it is practical in its subject matter, insofar as it is concerned with action. But it is also practical in its consequences or its issue, insofar as reflection about action itself directly moves people to act. Our capacity for deliberative self-determination raises two sets of philosophical problems. First, there are (...) questions about how deliberation can succeed in being practical in its issue. What do we need to assume — both about agents and about the processes of reasoning they engage in — to make sense of the fact that deliberative reflection can directly give rise to action? Can we do justice to this dimension of practical reason while preserving the idea that practical deliberation is genuinely a form of reasoning? Second, there are large issues concerning the content of the standards that are brought to bear in practical reasoning. Which norms for the assessment of action are binding on us as agents? Do these norms provide resources for critical reflection about our ends, or are they exclusively instrumental? Under what conditions do moral norms yield valid standards for reasoning about action? The first set of issues is addressed in sections 1-3 of the present article, while sections 4-5 cover the second set of issues. (shrink)
This is a preliminary version of an article to appear in the forthcoming Ashgate Companion to the New Philosophy of Physics.In it, I aim to review, in a way accessible to foundationally interested physicists as well as physics-informed philosophers, just where we have got to in the quest for a solution to the measurement problem. I don't advocate any particular approach to the measurement problem (not here, at any rate!) but I do focus on the importance of decoherence theory to (...) modern attempts to solve the measurement problem, and I am fairly sharply critical of some aspects of the "traditional" formulation of the problem. (shrink)
Promising is clearly a social practice or convention. By uttering the formula, “I hereby promise to do X,” we can raise in others the expectation that we will in fact do X. But this succeeds only because there is a social practice that consists (inter alia) in a disposition on the part of promisers to do what they promise, and an expectation on the part of promisees that promisers will so behave. It is equally clear that, barring special circumstances of (...) some kind, it is morally wrong for promisers to fail to do what they have promised to do. What is perhaps less clear is how the moral wrongness that is involved when promises are broken is related to the social practice that makes promising possible in the ﬁrst place. (shrink)
Some mereologists boast that their view of parts and wholes is ontologically innocent.[Lewis 1991: 72-87] They claim that a fusion is nothing over and above its parts; once you’ve committed to the parts, you get the fusion for free. In other words, fusions are not a further ontological commitment beyond the commitment to the parts. There are various proposals to explain how it is that fusions can come about so cheap. Perhaps the most straightforward of these explanations, and the one (...) I will be concerned with in this paper, is to accept the Strong Composition Thesis:2, 3.. (shrink)
According to Bayesian epistemology, the epistemically rational agent updates her beliefs by conditionalization: that is, her posterior subjective probability after taking account of evidence X, pnew, is to be set equal to her prior conditional probability pold(·|X). Bayesians can be challenged to provide a justification for their claim that conditionalization is recommended by rationality—whence the normative force of the injunction to conditionalize? There are several existing justifications for conditionalization, but none directly addresses the idea that conditionalization will be epistemically rational (...) if and only if it can reasonably be expected to lead to epistemically good outcomes. We apply the approach of cognitive decision theory to provide a justification for conditionalization using precisely that idea. We assign epistemic utility functions to epistemically rational agents; an agent’s epistemic utility is to depend both upon the actual state of the world and on the agent’s credence distribution over possible states. We prove that, under independently motivated conditions, conditionalization is the unique updating rule that maximizes expected epistemic utility. (shrink)
Jonathan Dancy’s Practical Reality defends a strikingly nonpsychologistic account of motivating reasons for action. I agree wholeheartedly with Dancy that normative reasons do not in general consist in psychological states. I also agree with Dancy that motivating reasons should be understood in a way that preserves their connection to the kinds of normative consideration that recommend or speak in favor of actions. Despite these significant points of agreement, however, I find myself resisting Dancy’s nonpsychologistic conclusion.
I analyse the conceptual and mathematical foundations of Lagrangian quantum field theory (QFT) (that is, the ‘naive’ (QFT) used in mainstream physics, as opposed to algebraic quantum field theory). The objective is to see whether Lagrangian (QFT) has a sufficiently firm conceptual and mathematical basis to be a legitimate object of foundational study, or whether it is too ill-defined. The analysis covers renormalisation and infinities, inequivalent representations, and the concept of localised states; the conclusion is that Lagrangian QFT (at least (...) as described here) is a perfectly respectable physical theory, albeit somewhat different in certain respects from most of those studied in foundational work. (shrink)
This is a discussion of how we can understand the world-view given to us by the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics, and in particular the role played by the concept of 'world'. The view presented is that we are entitled to use 'many-worlds' terminology even if the theory does not specify the worlds in the formalism; this is defended by means of an extensive analogy with the concept of an 'instant' or moment of time in relativity, with the lack of (...) a preferred foliation of spacetime being compared with the lack of a preferred basis in quantum theory. Implications for identity of worlds over time, and for relativistic quantum mechanics, are discussed. (shrink)
According to Bayesian epistemology, the epistemically rational agent updates her beliefs by conditionalization: that is, her posterior subjective probability after taking account of evidence X, new, is to be set equal to her prior conditional probability old(.|X). Bayesians can be challenged to provide a justification for their claim that conditionalization is recommended by rationality --- whence the normative force of the injunction to conditionalize?
I address the problem of indefiniteness in quantum mechanics: the problem that the theory, without changes to its formalism, seems to predict that macroscopic quantities have no definite values. The Everett interpretation is often criticised along these lines, and I shall argue that much of this criticism rests on a false dichotomy: that the macroworld must either be written directly into the formalism or be regarded as somehow illusory. By means of analogy with other areas of physics, I develop the (...) view that the macroworld is instead to be understood in terms of certain structures and patterns which emerge from quantum theory (given appropriate dynamics, in particular decoherence). I extend this view to the observer, and in doing so make contact with functionalist theories of mind. (shrink)
I present a proof of the quantum probability rule from decision-theoretic assumptions, in the context of the Everett interpretation. The basic ideas behind the proof are those presented in Deutsch's recent proof of the probability rule, but the proof is simpler and proceeds from weaker decision-theoretic assumptions. This makes it easier to discuss the conceptual ideas involved in the proof, and to show that they are defensible.
An investigation is made into how the foundations of statistical mechanics are affected once we treat classical mechanics as an approximation to quantum mechanics in certain domains rather than as a theory in its own right; this is necessary if we are to understand statistical-mechanical systems in our own world. Relevant structural and dynamical differences are identified between classical and quantum mechanics (partly through analysis of technical work on quantum chaos by other authors). These imply that quantum mechanics significantly affects (...) a number of foundational questions, including the nature of statistical probability and the direction of time. (shrink)
Evolution is littered with paraphyletic convergences: many roads lead to functional Romes. We propose here another example - an equivalence class structure factoring the broad realm of possible realizations of the Baars Global Workspace consciousness model. The construction suggests many different physiological systems can support rapidly shifting, sometimes highly tunable, temporary assemblages of interacting unconscious cognitive modules. The discovery implies various animal taxa exhibiting behaviors we broadly recognize as conscious are, in fact, simply expressing different forms of the same underlying (...) phenomenon. Mathematically, we find much slower, and even multiple simultaneous, versions of the basic structure can operate over very long timescales, a kind of paraconsciousness often ascribed to group phenomena. The variety of possibilities, a veritable rainbow, suggests minds today may be only a small surviving fraction of ancient evolutionary radiations - bush phylogenies of consciousness and paraconsciousness. Under this scenario, the resulting diversity was subsequently pruned by selection and chance extinction. Though few traces of the radiation may be found in the direct fossil record, exaptations and vestiges are scattered across the living mind. Humans, for instance, display an uncommonly profound synergism between individual consciousness and their embedding cultural heritages, enabling efficient Lamarkian adaptation. (shrink)
David Lewis adopts a counterpart theory of individuals to account for how it is that Humphrey has the modal property of ‘could have won the election.’ Once counterpart theory is taken on board, however, I think that the motivation for having a plurality of worlds is untenable. I will claim that counterpart theory with respect to individuals invites counterpart theory with respect to properties1, which in turn invites an analysis of modality that involves only one possible world, viz., the actual (...) world. (shrink)
This book is an impressive and stimulating treatment of central issues in metaethics. It is extremely well-written, combining clarity and precision with an individual style that is engaging and very often witty. It presents a general commentary on the contemporary metaethical debate, on the way to defending a position in that debate—moral fictionalism—that is distinctive and worthy of reaching a wider audience. The book is full of arguments, presenting a wealth of stimulating ideas, objections, and suggestions on all the topics (...) addressed. (shrink)
The quantum theory of de Broglie and Bohm solves the measurement problem, but the hypothetical corpuscles play no role in the argument. The solution finds a more natural home in the Everett interpretation.
I consider exactly what is involved in a solution to the probability problem of the Everett interpretation, in the light of recent work on applying considerations from decision theory to that problem. I suggest an overall framework for understanding probability in a physical theory, and conclude that this framework, when applied to the Everett interpretation, yields the result that that interpretation satisfactorily solves the measurement problem. Introduction What is probability? 2.1 Objective probability and the Principal Principle 2.2 Three ways of (...) satisfying the functional definition 2.3 Cautious functionalism 2.4 Is the functional definition complete? The Everett interpretation and subjective uncertainty 3.1 Interpreting quantum mechanics 3.2 The need for subjective uncertainty 3.3 Saunders' argument for subjective uncertainty 3.4 Objections to Saunders' argument 3.5 Subjective uncertainty again: arguments from interpretative charity 3.6 Quantum weights and the functional definition of probability Rejecting subjective uncertainty 4.1 The fission program 4.2 Against the fission program Justifying the axioms of decision theory 5.1 The primitive status of the decision-theoretic axioms 5.2 Holistic scepticism 5.3 The role of an explanation of decision theory Conclusion. (shrink)
An extended analysis is given of the program, originally suggested by Deutsch, of solving the probability problem in the Everett interpretation by means of decision theory. Deutsch's own proof is discussed, and alternatives are presented which are based upon different decision theories and upon Gleason's Theorem. It is argued that decision theory gives Everettians most or all of what they need from `probability'. Contact is made with Lewis's Principal Principle linking subjective credence with objective chance: an Everettian Principal Principle is (...) formulated, and shown to be at least as defensible as the usual Principle. Some consequences of (Everettian) quantum mechanics for decision theory itself are also discussed. -/- [NB: this this long (70 pages) and occasionally rambling online-only paper has been almost entirely superseded by material in subsequent; if something is not included in them it usually means that I have had second thoughts. I include it for completeness only. (shrink)
Following Lewis, it is widely held that branching worlds differ in important ways from diverging worlds. There is, however, a simple and natural semantics under which ordinary sentences uttered in branching worlds have much the same truth values as they conventionally have in diverging worlds. Under this semantics, whether branching or diverging, speakers cannot say in advance which branch or world is theirs. They are uncertain as to the outcome. This same semantics ensures the truth of utterances typically made about (...) quantum mechanical contingencies, including statements of uncertainty, if the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics is true. The 'incoherence problem' of the Everett interpretation, that it can give no meaning to the notion of uncertainty, is thereby solved. (shrink)
My commentators have given me much to think about, and I am grateful to them for their serious engagement with my work. Their many objections coalesce primarily around the following issues, which I shall address in turn: the normative approach; praiseworthiness; practical reason and moral reasons; physical possibility; the exercise of general powers; nomic necessity and revisionism about blame; ultimate responsibility and control.
“Slingshot” arguments are all the rage. And no wonder. For if they turn out to be sound, our approach to most of metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language would be brutally undermined. Slingshot arguments are typically reductio arguments that aim to show that an allegedly non-extensional sentential connective— such as “necessarily ( )” or “the statement that Φ corresponds to the fact that ( )”—is, to the contrary, an extensional sentential connective. That an alleged non-extensional sentential connective would (...) turn out to be extensional is devastating for it would lead to such radical conclusions as: (i) if sentences or proposition refer to facts, then all facts collapse into one big fact, (ii) if sentences or propositions refer to anything, then they refer to their truth value (which means there is just one thing to which all true sentences refer (e.g., the True), and just one thing that all false sentences refer (e.g., the False)), (iii) modal distinctions collapse, such that ‘necessarily p’ and ‘possibly p’ reduce to ‘p,’ etc.1 The recent resurgence of interest in slingshot arguments is primarily due to Neale (2001)—which is an expansion of Neale (1995)2—where it is argued that slingshot arguments are not only philosophically interesting in their own right, but that they put a “descriptive constraint” on certain theories of facts. Neale thinks that theories of facts are pressured by a certain reformulation of Gödel’s slingshot argument to adopt a particular semantic view of definite descriptions. More specifically, Neale thinks that theories of.. (shrink)
An analysis is made of Deutsch's recent claim to have derived the Born rule from decision-theoretic assumptions. It is argued that Deutsch's proof must be understood in the explicit context of the Everett interpretation, and that in this context, it essentially succeeds. Some comments are made about the criticism of Deutsch's proof by Barnum, Caves, Finkelstein, Fuchs, and Schack; it is argued that the flaw which they point out in the proof does not apply if the Everett interpretation is assumed.
Recent events have raised concerns about the ethical standards of public and private organisations, with some attention falling on business schools as providers of education and training to managers and senior executives. This paper investigates the nature of, motivation and commitment to, ethics tuition provided by the business schools. Using content analysis of their institutional and home websites, we appraise their corporate identity, level of engagement in socially responsible programmes, degree of social inclusion, and the relationship to their ethics teaching. (...) Based on published research, a schema is developed with corporate identity forming an integral part, to represent the macro-environment, parent institution, the business school and their relationships to ethics education provision. This is validated by our findings. (shrink)
I investigate the consequences for semantics, and in particular for the semantics of tense, if time is assumed to have a branching structure not out of metaphysical necessity (to solve some philosophical problem) but just as a contingent physical fact, as is suggested by a currently-popular approach to the interpretation of quantum mechanics.
Anonymity is a form of nonidentifiability which I define as noncoordinatability of traits in a given respect. This definition broadens the concept, freeing it from its primary association with naming. I analyze different ways anonymity can be realized. I also discuss some ethical issues, such as privacy, accountability and other values which anonymity may serve or undermine. My theory can also conceptualize anonymity in information systems where, for example, privacy and accountability are at issue.
Abstract: Virtue Ethicists typically hold that the weak-willed person is less morally culpable than the vicious person. However, I have reasons to think that this intuition is incorrect. What’s more, I think that insofar as there is an asymmetry in the moral culpability between the weak-willed and the vicious, the asymmetry works the opposite way. Moreover, I think that Virtue Ethicists should think this, too. In the following paper, I will first discuss the plausibility of the vicious agent as someone (...) who is merely mistaken about what the good is. Then I will explain and critique two of the reasons a Virtue Ethicist might give in arguing for the claim that the weak-willed agent is less culpable than the vicious agent: (i) that the weak-willed agent has a ‘general commitment to the good’, whereas the vicious agent does not, and (ii) that it is the internal struggle or conflict within the weak-willed person that deserves merit or praise (as opposed to the vicious agent who doesn’t struggle at all). Finally, I will outline some additional reasons why the Virtue Ethicist should think that the vicious person is less culpable than the weak-willed, followed by some brief comments about the role of internalism in all of this. (shrink)
In this single-blind within-subject study, autonomic and EEG variables were compared during 10-min, order-balanced eyes-closed rest and Transcendental Meditation (TM) sessions. TM sessions were distinguished by (1) lower breath rates, (2) lower skin conductance levels, (3) higher respiratory sinus arrhythmia levels, and (4) higher alpha anterior-posterior and frontal EEG coherence. Alpha power was not significantly different between conditions. These results were seen in the first minute and were maintained throughout the 10-min sessions. TM practice appears to (1) lead to a (...) state fundamentally different than eyes-closed rest; (2) result in a cascade of events in the central and autonomic nervous systems, leading to a rapid change in state (within a minute) that was maintained throughout the TM session; and (3) be best distinguished from other conditions through autonomic and EEG alpha coherence patterns rather than alpha power. Two neural networks that may mediate these effects are suggested. The rapid shift in physiological functioning within the first minute might be mediated by a ''neural switch'' in prefrontal areas inhibiting activity in specific and nonspecific thalamocortical circuits. The resulting ''restfully alert'' state might be sustained by a basal ganglia-corticothalamic threshold regulation mechanism automatically maintaining lower levels of cortical excitability. (shrink)
Deutsch and Hayden have proposed an alternative formulation of quantum mechanics which is completely local. We argue that their proposal must be understood as having a form of `gauge freedom' according to which mathematically distinct states are physically equivalent. Once this gauge freedom is taken into account, their formulation is no longer local.
I have two main objectives in this essay: (1) to situate the events of 11 September within the context of the impact of modernization on religious consciousness and institutions; and (2) to suggest, albeit without adequate empirical support, that militant Islamic opposition to the West in general and the United States in particular is itself an effect of the peculiar path of modernization that has unfolded in the Gulf region of the Middle East over the last 200 years. To develop (...) my argument, I draw upon Habermas's theory of social evolution. Since this strategy requires explaining the key components of that theory, I devote a good part of the article to this task. The paper has five parts. In parts one and two, I criticize competing explanations of the events of 11 September from left, right and center. All these positions fail in one way or another to take seriously the religious significance of those events. In part three, I explain the six central dimensions of Habermas's theory of social evolution: (1) communicative rationality; (2) communicative action; (3) life-world; (4) system; (5) social typology; and (6) the systemic colonization of the life-world. In part four, I examine the relation between religion and modernity. In part five, I examine the modernization processes in the Gulf region of the Middle East. Empirical evidence tentatively suggests that such a process has been one-dimensional, focusing on systemic complexity to the detriment of the communicative rationalization of the life-world. Such evidence also indicates the existence of widespread systemic colonization of the life-world. If the empirical data are correct, then we can explain the emergence of extreme militant Islamic fundamentalism as an effect of a retarded development of those socio-political structures necessary for the realization of communicative rationality. Key Words: communicative action communicative rationality 11 September Jürgen Habermas Islamic fundamentalism life-world modernization religious consciousness social evolution. (shrink)
In this article, we contend that due to their size and emphasis upon addressing external social concerns, the corporate relationship between social enterprises, social awareness and action is more complex than whether or not these organisations engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR). This includes organisations that place less emphasis on CSR as well as other organisations that may be very proficient in CSR initiatives, but are less successful in recording practices. In this context, we identify a number of internal CSR (...) markers that may be applied to measuring the extent to which internal CSR practices are being observed. These considerations may be contrasted with the evidence that community based CSR activities is often well developed in private sector small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) (Observatory of European SMEs, 2002), a situation which may be replicated in social enterprises especially those that have grown from micro-enterprises embedded in local communities. We place particular emphasis upon the implications for employee management. Underpinning our position is the Aristotelian-informed capabilities approach, a theory of human development and quality of life, developed by Sen (1992; 1999) and Nussbaum (1999) which has been developed further, in an organisational context, (e.g., Cornelius, 2002); Cornelius and Gagnon, 2004; Gagnon and Cornelius, 1999; Vogt, 2005. We contend that the capabilities approach offers additional insights into CSR in social enterprises in general and internal CSR activity in particular. Our article concludes with proposals for future research initiatives and reflections upon social enterprise development from a capabilities perspective. (shrink)
We are told in Book I (347b-d) of The Republic that good people will not be willing to rule for money or honor. On the contrary, they will have to be coerced, by some compulsion or punishment, to rule. Moreover, in a city full of good men, there will be a competition to see who will be the ones not to rule. So a good or ‘true’ ruler will be one who does not necessarily want to rule. Even stronger: a (...) true ruler will want that he does not rule. We aren’t yet told in Book I who these true leaders are, nor are we told what these true rulers would want to do instead of ruling. Later in the Republic, however, these details are filled in: we are told that the leaders are the philosophers, and that they would much prefer to be living a contemplative life, than ruling cities. Dealing with the Forms alone, in other words, would be preferable to and better than—and would thus make the philosopher happier than—being a leader or a king. Nonetheless, the philosopher will not only be willing to rule, but will see that ruling is compulsory and just (and perhaps compulsory because it’s just). So despite the fact that a philosopher would prefer to not rule, he will do it anyway out of a sort of obligation or compulsion. Yet this explanation of why a philosopher would be willing to rule is prima facie problematic in light of what we are told about justice throughout the rest of the Republic (esp. Books II- IV). Namely, that acting just will result in doing that which is in one’s best interest to do. So, it seems that by ruling, philosophers are not doing what is in their best interest, since what is in their best interest is to live a purely contemplative life, not a political one. Yet leading is nonetheless just. So it seems that, contrary to what Plato claims, justice and self-interest come apart. (shrink)
Galileo's view of science is indebted to the teaching of the Jesuit professors at the Collegio Romano, but Galileo's concept of mathematical physics also corresponds to that of Giovan Battista Benedetti. Lacking documentary evidence that would connect Benedetti directly with the Jesuits, or the Jesuits with Benedetti, I infer a common source: the Spanish connection, that is, Domingo de Soto. I then give indications that the fourteenth-century work at Oxford and Paris on calculationes was transmitted via Spain and Portugal to (...) Rome and other centers where Jesuits had colleges, and figured in the rise of mathematical physics at the beginning of the seventeenth century. A result of these researches is their vindication of Duhem, as contrasted with Koyré, on the origins of modern mechanics. (shrink)
The relation between micro-objects and macro-objects advocated by Kim is even more problematic than Ross & Spurrett (R&S) argue, for reasons rooted in physics. R&S's own ontological proposals are much more satisfactory from a physicist's viewpoint but may still be problematic. A satisfactory theory of macroscopic ontology must be as independent as possible of the details of microscopic physics.
The central paradigm of arti?cial intelligence is rapidly shifting toward biological models for both robotic devices and systems performing such critical tasks as network management, vehicle navigation, and process control. Here we use a recent mathematical analysis of the necessary conditions for consciousness in humans to explore likely failure modes inherent to a broad class of biologically inspired computing machines. Analogs to developmental psychopathology, in which regulatory mechanisms for consciousness fail progressively and subtly understress, and toinattentional blindness, where a narrow (...) 'syntactic band pass' de?ned by the rate distortion manifold of conscious attention results in pathological ?xation, seem inevitable. Similar problems are likely to confront other possible architectures, although their mathematical description may be far less straightforward. Computing devices constructed on biological paradigms will inevitably lack the elaborate, but poorly understood, system of control mechanisms which has evolved over the last few hundred million years to stabilize consciousness in higher animals. This will make such machines prone to insidious degradation, and, ultimately, catastrophic failure. (shrink)
The quantum theory of de Broglie and Bohm solves the measurement problem, but the hypothetical corpuscles play no role in the argument. The solution ﬁnds a more natural home in the Everett interpretation.
Future technological developmentsconcerning food, agriculture, and theenvironment face a gulf of social legitimationfrom a skeptical public and media, in the wakeof the crises of BSE, GM food, and foot andmouth disease in the UK (House of Lords, 2000). Keyethical issues were ignored by the bioindustry,regulators, and the Government, leaving alegacy of distrust. The paper examinesagricultural biotechnology in terms of a socialcontract, whose conditions would have to be fulfilled togain acceptance of novel applications. Variouscurrent and future GM applications areevaluated against these (...) conditions. Successwould depend critically on how far a sharedvision can be found with the public. Tore-establish trust, significant changes areidentified in the planning and pursuit ofbiotechnology. (shrink)
Drawing on a conception of scientists and community members as partners in the construction of ethically responsible research practices, this article urges investigators to seek the perspectives of teenagers and parents in evaluating the personal and political costs and benefits of research on adolescent risk behaviors. Content analysis of focus group discussions involving over 100 parents and teenagers from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds revealed community opinions regarding the scientific merit, social value, racial bias, and participant and group harms and (...) benefits associated with surveys, informant reports, intervention studies, blood sampling, and genetic research on youth problems. Participant comments highlight new directions for socially responsible research. (shrink)