I am going to begin today by bringing together one of the themes of Carol Voeller’s remarks with one of the criticisms raised by Rachel Cohon, because I see them as related, and want to address them together. Voeller argues that the moral law is constitutive of our nature as rational agents. To put it in her own words, “to be the kind of object it is, is for a thing to be under, or constituted by, the laws which (...) are its nature. For Kant, laws are constitutive principles … in something very close to an Aristotelian sense: for Kant, laws are proper to objects1 much as form is to object, for Aristotle.” Voeller believes that the moral law defines the kind of cause that we are, and we are under the moral law because we are that kind of cause. Since the defining quality of a rational agent is that a rational agent acts on its representation - I prefer to say conception - of a law, Voeller thinks the question for Kant is whether we can find a law which just is the law for causes that act on their representations of laws. As she puts it, “The problem, for Kant, is whether there is a law of a cause that acts on norms - on reflection, on its representation of a law. If there is, then the constitutive principle of that cause will be the law normative for it in reflection.” Now Voeller appears to think that I will disagree with this strategy for grounding the moral law, because she sees me as giving an anti-metaphysical or ametaphysical account of Kant’s ethics, in contrast to Kant’s own. But so far, I don’t.. (shrink)
Third wave anti-essentialist critique has too often been used to dismiss second wave feminist projects. I examine claims that Carol Gilligan's work is "essentialist," and argue that her recent research requires this criticism be rethought. Anti-essentialist feminist method should consist in attention to the relations of power that construct accounts of gendered identity in the course of different forms of empirical enquiry, not in rejecting any general claim about women or girls.
There are many things in this book that I like. I like Gould's basic philosophical framework--her "social ontology" of human beings conceived of as individuals-in-relation-- which was developed in her earlier works, Marx's Social Ontology and Rethinking Democracy. I like her use of a feminist "ethic of care" throughout, even to ground human rights. This latter move is surprising in light of Carol Gilligan's provocative (and in my view insightful) contrast between an ethic of rights (characteristic of conventional male (...) moral reasoning in our culture) and an ethic of care (more characteristic of the moral deliberation of women).1 But if human rights are conceived of as positive claims on others--as Gould argues, convincingly, they should be--then these claims have force only if we care for others and can related to them empathetically. I like the diversity of topics this book addresses: racism and democracy, cultural identity and group rights, women's human rights, the global "democratic deficit,” implications for democracy of the internet, and more. Rather than sketch an overview of the book, or comment superficially on its many significant issues, I will concentrate here on just two essays. (shrink)
This article argues that Carol Gilligan's research in moral development psychology, work which claims that women speak about ethics in a "different voice" than men do, is applicable to business ethics. This essay claims that Gilligan's "ethic of care" provides a plausible explanation for the results of two studies that found men and women handling ethical dilemmas in business differently. This paper also speculates briefly about the management implications of Gilligan's ideas.
Gilligan's understanding of moral reasoning as a kind of perception has its roots in the conception of moral experience espoused by Simone Weil and Iris Murdoch. A clear understanding of that conception, however, reveals grave difficulties with Gilligan's descriptions of the care perspective and justice perspective. In particular, we can see that the two perspectives are not mutually exclusive once we recognize that attention does not require attachment and that impartiality does not require detachment.
Conflicting religious experiences in different traditions do not necessarily <span class='Hi'>defeat</span> the rationality of conflicting beliefs sustained by those experiences in those traditions. The circularity that protects religious beliefs from such mutual <span class='Hi'>defeat</span> is not vicious. Moreover, the lack of ‘epistemological humility’ exhibited by such believers poses no threat to world peace. In fact, a campaign for compulsory humility would itself constitute a much greater threat.
McBride offers a succinct summary of Gould’s book and ponders what the significance of theoretical discussions of the nature of human rights and degrees of democracy might be for our time when the U.S. government has descended into “barbarism” and made a sham out of anything resembling democracy. He concludes that Gould’s book is “first rate” as “a learned exercise in dreaming,” granting against his own deep pessimism that one can never know for sure that “dreams” may not turn out (...) to have some practical relevance. [Abstract prepared by the Editors.]. (shrink)
This collection of essays analyzes relations of social inequality that appear to be logical extensions of a "natural order," and in the process demonstrates that a revitalized feminist anthropology of the 1990s has much to offer the field of feminist theory. Fashioned as a response to the lack of cultural analysis in feminist scholarship, the contributors question the category of gender within the inclusive context of the structural dynamics of inequality. They also examine how cultural identities, domains and institutions affect (...) our perception of gender in society. The first selection of essays addresses how ideas of family and kinship have fostered society's hierarchies and legitimized the status quo. In part two, the essays show how several dimensions of inequality are implicit in the construction of identities that are based upon ideas of social solidarity. Contributors: Susan McKinnon, University of Virginia; Kath Weston, Arizona State West; Rayna Rapp, New School for Social Research; Janet Dolgin, Hofstra University; Harriet Whitehead, Duke University; Carol Delaney, Stanford University; Brackette Williams, University of Arizona; Sylvia Yanagisako, Stanford University; Phyllis Chock, Catholic University; Sherry Ortner, University of Michigan; Anna Tsing, University of California, Santa Cruz. (shrink)
It was only recently that people began to refer to God, occasionally, as “she.” Is it now possible to re-imagine divine power as a female force deeply related to the changing world? If so, then we can understand the deeper meaning of female images of divine power including depictions such as “The Goddess.” Carol Christ offers a new look at these female images of God in She Who Changes . She shows how many traditional ideas about divine power reject (...) the female body and connection to the natural world. She looks at the work of female theologians in Judaism, Christianity, and various religions that worship "The Goddess" to explore the way in which they are re-imagining both divine and human power as embodied both in a changing world and deeply related to all beings. (shrink)
Abstract I am honoured that you asked me to give the Kohlberg Memorial Lecture and grateful for this occasion to remember Larry and speak about his work. For me, it means coming back into a conversation that I was intensely involved in a long time ago. I have not talked publicly about Larry or my relationship with him since the time of his death, and it has now been over 10 years. I want to say how I remember Larry and (...) also how it came to pass that I became involved in a conversation with him and how my work flowed through the area of moral development for a period of time. In doing so, I will bring my first?person voice into a place where I have tended to appear in the third person, as ?Gilligan?, I will talk about Carol and Larry and Kohlberg and Gilligan, but first I want to begin in the present, with where I am now and with an observation about boys that led me back to the beginning of Larry's theory. (shrink)
A panel titled Feminist Philosophy after Twenty Years was organized by Carol C. Gould for the session sponsored by the Committee on the Status of Women at the American Philosophical Association's 1993 Eastern Division Meeting, December 30, 1993 in Atlanta, GA. The remarks of the three panelists, Linda Lopez McAlister, Ann Ferguson and Kathy Addelson are printed below.
Materializing absence, Jenny Hockey, Carol Komaromy and Kate Woodthorpe -- Never say die: CPR in hospital space, Susie Page -- Making hospice space, Ken Worpole -- Dying spaces in dying places, Carol Komaromy -- The materialities of absence after stillbirth: historical perspectives, Jan Bleyen -- Distributed personhood and the transformation of agency: an anthropological perspective on inquests, Susan Langer -- Behind closed doors? corpses and mourners in English and American funeral premises, Sheila Harper -- Private grief in public (...) spaces: interpreting memorialisation in the contemporary cemetary, Kate Woodthorpe -- Wandering lines and cul-de-sacs: trajectories of ashes in the United Kingdom, Leonie Kellaher, Jenny Hockey and David Prendergast -- Natural burial: the de-materialising of death?, Andy Clayden, Jenny Hockey and Mark Powell -- What will the neighbours say? reactions to field and garden burial, Tony Walter and Clare Gittings -- Memorialising the suicide victim: "walking the walk," Caroline Simone -- Potent reminders: an examination of responses to roadside memorials in Ireland, Una McConville and Regina McQuillan -- Geographies of the spirit world, Douglas J. Davies -- Recovering presence, Jenny Hockey, Carol Komaromy and Kate Woodthorpe. (shrink)
Myin, Erik (2000) Direct Self-Consciousness (2)Bermúdez, José Luis (2000) Concepts and the Priority Principle (10)Bermúdez, José Luis (2000) Circularity, "I"-Thoughts and the Linguistic Requirement for Concept Possession (11)Meeks, Roblin R. (2000) Withholding Immunity: Misidentification, Misrepresentation, and Autonomous Nonconceptual Proprioceptive First-Person Content (12)Newen, Albert (2001) Kinds of Self-Consciousness (13)Bermudez, Jose Luis (2000) Direct Self-Consciousness (4)Bermudez, Jose Luis (2000) Prelinguistic Self-Consciousness (5)Gallese, Vittorio (2000) The Brain and the Self: Reviewing the Neuroscientific Evidence (6)Bermudez, Jose Luis (2000) The Cognitive Neuroscience of Primitive Self-Consciousness (...) (7) [Currently Displayed]Robbins, Philip (2000) Paradox Twice Lost (8)Fuller, Gary and Slater, Carol W. (2000) "I"-Thoughts: Criteria, Constitution, and Concept Possession (9)Evans, Cedric Oliver (2000) Prelinguistic Self-Consciousness (3)Bermudez, Jose Luis and Polytechnique, CREA Ecole (1999) The Paradox of Self-Consciousness (representation and Mind) (1). (shrink)
author. University Professor in the School of Law, Columbia University. (From July 2006, Professor of Law, New York University.) Earlier versions of this Essay were presented at the Colloquium in Legal and Social Philosophy at University College London, at a law faculty workshop at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and at a constitutional law conference at Harvard Law School. I am particularly grateful to Ronald Dworkin, Ruth Gavison, and Seana Shiffrin for their formal comments on those occasions and also to (...) James Allan, Aharon Barak, Richard Bellamy, Aileen Cavanagh, Arthur Chaskalson, Michael Dorf, Richard Fallon, Charles Fried, Andrew Geddis, Stephen Guest, Ian Haney-Lopez, Alon Harel, David Heyd, Sam Issacharoff, Elena Kagan, Kenneth Keith, Michael Klarman, John Manning, Andrei Marmor, Frank Michelman, Henry Monaghan, Véronique Munoz-Dardé, John Morley, Matthew Palmer, Richard Pildes, Joseph Raz, Carol Sanger, David Wiggins, and Jo Wolff for their suggestions and criticisms. Hundreds of others have argued with me about this issue over the years: This Essay is dedicated to all of them, collegially and with thanks. (shrink)
Abstract: Michael Walzer and David Miller defend the authority of democratic states to determine who will be allowed entry and membership. In support of this view they have claimed that the domestic solidarity necessary for social justice is threatened by the unregulated influx of outsiders. This empirical thesis proves to be false when applied to the United States, where heavy Latino and Latina immigration is more likely to increase civic solidarity than to diminish it. Seen in this light, the positions (...) of Jürgen Habermas and Carol Gould, giving human rights priority over democratic sovereignty in decisions about membership, cannot be criticized as utopian. Liberal philosophers can also defend open borders as a way to give oppressed peoples representation inside powerful countries where state decisions often threaten access to essential resources and basic freedoms in their home countries. (shrink)
The Church-Turing thesis makes a bold claim about the theoretical limits to computation. It is based upon independent analyses of the general notion of an effective procedure proposed by Alan Turing and Alonzo Church in the 1930''s. As originally construed, the thesis applied only to the number theoretic functions; it amounted to the claim that there were no number theoretic functions which couldn''t be computed by a Turing machine but could be computed by means of some other kind of effective (...) procedure. Since that time, however, other interpretations of the thesis have appeared in the literature. In this paper I identify three domains of application which have been claimed for the thesis: (1) the number theoretic functions; (2) all functions; (3) mental and/or physical phenomena. Subsequently, I provide an analysis of our intuitive concept of a procedure which, unlike Turing''s, is based upon ordinary, everyday procedures such as recipes, directions and methods; I call them mundane procedures. I argue that mundane procedures can be said to be effective in the same sense in which Turing machine procedures can be said to be effective. I also argue that mundane procedures differ from Turing machine procedures in a fundamental way, viz., the former, but not the latter, generate causal processes. I apply my analysis to all three of the above mentioned interpretations of the Church-Turing thesis, arguing that the thesis is (i) clearly false under interpretation (3), (ii) false in at least some possible worlds (perhaps even in the actual world) under interpretation (2), and (iii) very much open to question under interpretation (1). (shrink)
An extensive theoretical and research literature on organizational change and its implementation has been accumulating over the past fifty years. It is customary in this literature to find resistance to change mentioned as an inevitable consequence of organizational change initiatives. Yet there has been little discussion of the nature and forms of resistance that is institutionalized in organizational structure and processes. Furthermore, organization development perspectives on organizational change address management-initiated change, but not change proposed by advocates for the powerless and (...) disadvantaged. Focussing on institutionalized resistance from the standpoint of the advocate of fundamental change, this discussion proposes a typology consisting of a sequence of forms of active resistance to change, from denial through inaction to repression. The typology is illustrated by referring to responses of organizational decision makers to the efforts of employment equity change agents to address issues of systemic discrimination in the work place. The purpose of the typology is to assist change advocates, such as equality seekers, to name, analyze and think strategically about the institutionalized resistance they encounter, and about effective responses to the resistance. (shrink)
Abstract: The emergence of cross-border communities and transnational associations requires new ways of thinking about the norms involved in democracy in a globalized world. Given the significance of human rights fulfillment, including social and economic rights, I argue here for giving weight to the claims of political communities while also recognizing the need for input by distant others into the decisions of global governance institutions that affect them. I develop two criteria for addressing the scope of democratization in transnational contexts— (...) common activities and impact on basic human rights —and argue for their compatibility. I then consider some practical implications for institutional transformation and design, including new forms of transnational representation. (shrink)
This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom... —Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.
This article argues that Thomas Pogge's important theory of global justice does not adequately appreciate the relation between interactional and institutional accounts of human rights, along with the important normative role of care and solidarity in the context of globalization. It also suggests that more attention needs to be given critically to the actions of global corporations and positively to introducing democratic accountability into the institutions of global governance. The article goes on to present an alternative approach to global justice (...) based on a more robust conception of human rights grounded in a conception of equal positive freedom, in which these rights are seen to apply beyond the coercive political institutions to which Pogge primarily confines them (e.g. to prohibiting domestic violence), and in which they can guide the development of economic, social and political forms to enable their fulfillment. (shrink)
The title of this paper is meant to be provocative. The issue is not whether Carol Gilligan and Nel Noddings, who are usually credited with originating the ethics of care, build explicitly upon AristotleÕs work, or even whether Aristotle is a source of inspiration for them.1 Instead, the issue is whether Aristotle is an earlier advocate, perhaps the earliest advocate, of the ethics of care. Aristotle cannot be an ethics of care advocate without a concept of care, but Aristotle (...) does have a concept of care. Although the Greek terms phil" esis and its infinitive version to philein are typically translated as ‘‘love,’’ or ‘‘friendly feeling,’’ or ‘‘friendly affection’’ by AristotleÕs translators, Aristotle uses phil" esis and to philein to mean approximately what advocates of the ethics of care mean by ‘‘caring’’ and ‘‘care.’’ Aristotle defines to philein in the following way. ‘‘We may describe to philein towards anyone as wishing for him what you believe to be good things, not for your own sake but for his, and being inclined, so far as you can, to bring these things about.’’2 Furthermore, Aristotle contrasts phil" esis with mere goodwill. He says that goodwill, ‘‘does not involve intensity or desire, whereas these accompany phil" esis; and phil" esis implies intimacy while goodwill may arise of a sudden.’’3 Hence, phil" esis is no shallow whim, but a deep desire for the wellbeing of another person sought not merely as a means to the wellbeing of the agent, but for the sake of the other person. The interests of the other person are sought because of the character of the person. Moreover, phil" esis includes substantial familiarity with the other person gained through meaningful personal interactions with the person. This is compassion and sympathy, core components of care. Aristotle says little about phil". (shrink)
Provision of education for children under five has recently become a political concern. At the same time, this relatively small field has been attracting increased research attention, with many early years practitioners seeking routes to initial and higher degrees. This book offers essential guidance for researchers and newcomers to the field, outlining opportunities in research as well as useful, sensitive and appropriate methods for researching childhood education.
To contribute more effectively to conservation reform, environmental ethics needs a motivational turn, referenced to the best scientific information about motivation. I address the pivotal questions What actually motivates people to conserve nature? and What ought to motivate people to conserve nature? by proposing a framework for understanding motivations and developing motivationally relevant criteria for environmental ethics. The need for an adequate philosophy of psychology for moral philosophy, identified by Elizabeth Anscombe 50 years ago, remains. Only from a psychologically informed (...) motivational framework for morality can ethicists understand and address the widespread rhetoric behaviors gap plaguing conservation. (shrink)
The association of women with caring dispositions and thinking has become a persistent theme in recent feminist writing. There are a number of reasons for this. One reason is the impetus that has been provided by the empirical work of Carol Gilligan on women’s moral development. The fact that this association is not merely an ideologically or philosophically postulated one, but is argued for on empirical grounds, tends to add to its credibility. Another reason for the resilience of the (...) association is the existence of an increasingly prominent theme in feminist thought and action that focuses on the importance of women’s difference from men, both as a fact and as a goal. Within this theme, there are various views on what the relevant differences are between women and men, and why the differences ought to be emphasized and properly respected. Women’s caring, as will be seen, turns out to have a firm presence in all of these views, and as a result, many women argue that caring should form the basis of a distinctive feminist ethic. On these views, women’s approaches to understanding moral situations, defining selfconceptions, choosing goals and roles, and guiding behaviour, should all be informed by and based upon dispositions of caring. However, if this idea of a feminist ethic of care is to be plausible, it will need to be reconciled with another strong theme in feminism, according to which in fundamental moral respects women ought not be considered or treated differently from men. (shrink)
Over the past two decades there has been a great deal of research conducted into the question of gender differences in ethical decision making in organisations. Much of this has been based on questionnaire surveys, typically asking respondents (often students, sometimes professionals) to judge the moral acceptability of actions as described in short cases or vignettes. Overall the results seem inconclusive, although what differences have been noted tend to show women as 'more ethical' than men. The authors of this paper (...) believe that attention should be paid to the insight, from Carol Gilligan and others, that women are more inclined than men to subscribe to an 'ethic of care', and that once this perspective is adopted a pattern is discernible. In a critical examination of previous research we pay particular attention to the detailed content of cases used in surveys, and the statistical analysis of findings. We advocate greater reflection on the results of quantitative surveys and sensitivity to different possible interpretations of findings. This we do with our own exploratory study, conducted with UK undergraduate students of accounting, the findings from which seem to support the original hypothesis that where a 'care' orientation is invited, women do indeed react differently to business ethics issues than do men. (shrink)
∗Thanks to J. C. Beall, Alex Byrne, Jason Decker, Tyler Doggett, Paul Elbourne, Adam Elga, Warren Goldfarb, Delia Graﬀ, Richard Heck, Charles Parsons, Mark Richard, Susanna Siegel, Jason Stanley, Judith Thomson, Carol Voeller, Brian Weatherson, Ralph Wedgwood, Steve Yablo, Cheryl Zoll, and an anonymous referee for valuable comments and discussions. Versions of this material were presented in my seminar at MIT in the Fall of 2000, and at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Parts of this paper also derive (...) from my comments on a paper of Scott Soames at the ‘Liars and Heaps’ conference at the University of Connecticut in the Fall of 2002. I am grateful for the help of these audiences, and especially to Prof. Soames. (shrink)
The sport industry is an extremely diverse industry, including segments such as professional sport, intercollegiate athletics, health and fitness, recreational sport and facility management. The industry is currently experiencing rapid growth and development, and as it grows, sport managers in the different segments encounter ethical issues which are often unique to each segment. This article examines the professional sport, intercollegiate athletics, health and fitness, recreational sport and facility management segments of the sport industry and discusses the various ethical issues facing (...) managers in each of these segments. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that, in addition to having an obligation to resist the oppression of others, people have an obligation to themselves to resist their own oppression. This obligation to oneself, I argue, is grounded in a Kantian duty of self-respect.
Many scientists believe that there is a uniform, interdisciplinary method for the prac- tice of good science. The paradigmatic examples, however, are drawn from classical ex- perimental science. Insofar as historical hypotheses cannot be tested in controlled labo- ratory settings, historical research is sometimes said to be inferior to experimental research. Using examples from diverse historical disciplines, this paper demonstrates that such claims are misguided. First, the reputed superiority of experimental research is based upon accounts of scientific methodology (Baconian inductivism (...) or falsificationism) that are deeply flawed, both logically and as accounts of the actual practices of scientists. Second, although there are fundamental differences in methodology between experimental scien- tists and historical scientists, they are keyed to a pervasive feature of nature, a time asymmetry of causation. As a consequence, the claim that historical science is methodo- logically inferior to experimental science cannot be sustained. (shrink)
In Time and Death: Heidegger's Analysis of Finitude, Carol White pursues a strange hermeneutic strategy, reading Heidegger backwards by reading the central ideas of his later work back into his early magnum opus, Being and Time. White follows some of Heidegger's own later directives in pursuing this hermeneutic strategy, and this paper critically explores these directives along with the original reading that emerges from following them. The conclusion reached is that White's creative book is not persuasive as a strict (...) interpretation of Heidegger's early work, but remains extremely helpful for deepening our appreciation of Heidegger's thought as a whole. Most importantly, White helps us to understand the pivotal role that thinking about death played in the lifelong development of Heidegger's philosophy. (shrink)
Experimental research is commonly held up as the paradigm of "good" science. Although experiment plays many roles in science, its classical role is testing hypotheses in controlled laboratory settings. Historical science (which includes work in geology, biology, and astronomy, as well as paleontology and archaeology) is sometimes held to be inferior on the grounds that its hypothesis cannot be tested by controlled laboratory experiments. Using contemporary examples from diverse scientific disciplines, this paper explores differences in practice between historical and (...)experimental research vis-à-vis the testing of hypotheses. It rejects the claim that historical research is epistemically inferior. For as I argue, scientists engage in two very different patterns of evidential reasoning and, although there is overlap, one pattern predominates in historical research and the other pattern predominates in classical experimental research. I show that these different patterns of reasoning are grounded in an objective and remarkably pervasive time asymmetry of nature. (shrink)
In the Western aesthetic canon, the still life enjoys a certain prestige; its place in the museum and on the pages of the art history text is secure. Art aficionados who appreciate the character of Cezanne's apples help to ensure the lofty standing of the still life, as do students who admire the dewdrops still glistening on flowers picked and painted in the nineteenth century. For some students, however, it is difficult to understand such veneration. Despite the coaxing of dedicated (...) art or museum educators, these students find apples nestled among drapery folds or translucent petals in a spring bouquet to be "boring." No matter how compelling the apples, how exquisitely rendered the blossoms, the still life is .. (shrink)
Intriguing, and occasionally unsettling, In Defense of Sin is a refreshingly frank exploration of some real facts of life. Portmann gathers an on-target collection of great writers on transgressions large and small. Read about defenses for promiscuity, greed, deceit, gossip, lust, breaking the golden rule, and more--and use this unusual guide to decide for yourself if sin has a place in our contemporary, and virtually unshockable, society. Provocative and illuminating, this book may change how you think about sin, morality, and (...) what's right. Contributors include Aaron Ben-Ze'ev, Anthony Ellis, Jane English, Ludwig Feuerbach, Sigmund Freud, Bernard Mandeville, Jerome Neu, Friedrich Nietzsche, David Novitz, Joyce Carol Oates, David A.J. Richards, Seneca, Jonathan Swift, Richard Wasserstrom, and Oscar Wilde. (shrink)
Nel Noddings is arguably one of the premier philosophers of moral education in the English?speaking world today. Although she is outside the mainstream theory, research, and practice traditions of cognitive?developmentalism (the Kohlberg legacy) and of character education (which is in public ascendancy), her body of work is unrivalled for originality of insight, comprehensiveness and coherence. Whilst Carol Gilligan's In a different voice (1982) introduced the ethic of caring into academic and public discourse, it is Noddings ?who has done most (...) to outline a specific feminist position on moral education? (McClellan, 1999, p. 104), and whose influence extends to educational practice. This essay explicates Noddings's vision in sufficient depth to make the foregoing claims credible. Thematic focus is given to her attention to the ethical self or ethical ideal. The paper also examines Noddings's perspective on character education and the need to incorporate a morality of evil into any serious educational philosophy or practice. It is less a critical appraisal of that vision and perspective than an invitation to others to more fully engage with Noddings's writings.1. (shrink)
According to the Particularist Theory of Events, events are real things that have a spatiotemporal location. I argue that some events do not have a spatial location in the sense required by the theory. These events are ordinary, nonmental events like Smith’s investigating the murder and Carol’s putting her coat on the chair. I discuss the significance of these counterexamples for the theory.
I consider whether there is a plausible conception of personal identity that can accommodate the ‘Multiplicity Thesis’ (MT), the thesis that some ways of creating and deploying multiple distinct online personae can bring about the existence of multiple persons where before there was only one. I argue that an influential Kantian line of thought, according to which a person is a unified locus of rational agency, is well placed to accommodate the thesis. I set out such a line of thought (...) as developed by Carol Rovane, and consider the conditions that would have to be in place for the possibility identified by MT to be realised. Finally I briefly consider the prospects for MT according to neo-Lockean and animalist views of personhood. (shrink)
The question ‘what is life?’ has long been a source of philosophical debate and in recent years has taken on increasing scientific importance. The most popular approach among both philosophers and scientists for answering this question is to provide a “definition” of life. In this article I explore a variety of different definitional approaches, both traditional and non-traditional, that have been used to “define” life. I argue that all of them are deeply flawed. It is my contention that a scientifically (...) compelling understanding of the nature of life presupposes an empirically adequate scientific theory (vs. definition) of life; as I argue, scientific theories are not the sort of thing that can be encapsulated in definitions. Unfortunately, as I also discuss, scientists are currently in no position to formulate even a tentative version of such a theory. Recent discoveries in biology and biochemistry have revealed that familiar Earth life represents a single example that may not be representative of life. If this is the case, life on Earth today provides an empirically inadequate foundation for theorizing about life considered generally. I sketch a strategy for procuring the needed additional examples of life without the guidance of a definition or theory of life, and close with an application to NASA’s fledgling search for extraterrestrial life. (shrink)
Since the mid-twentieth century, the concept of the Turing machine has dominated thought about effective procedures. This paper presents an alternative to Turing's analysis; it unifies, refines, and extends my earlier work on this topic. I show that Turing machines cannot live up to their billing as paragons of effective procedure; at best, they may be said to provide us with mere procedure schemas. I argue that the concept of an effective procedure crucially depends upon distinguishing procedures as definite courses (...) of action(- types) from the particular courses of action(-tokens) that actually instantiate them and the causal processes and/or interpretations that ultimately make them effective. On my analysis, effectiveness is not just a matter of logical form; `content' matters. The analysis I provide has the advantage of applying to ordinary, everyday procedures such as recipes and methods, as well as the more refined procedures of mathematics and computer science. It also has the virtue of making better sense of the physical possibilities for hypercomputation than the received view and its extensions, e.g. Turing's o-machines, accelerating machines. (shrink)