Virtue argumentation theory provides the best framework for accommodating the notion of an argument that is “fully satisfying” in a robust and integrated sense. The process of explicating the notion of fully satisfying arguments requires expanding the concept of arguers to include all of an argument’s participants, including judges, juries, and interested spectators. And that, in turn, requires expanding the concept of an argument itself to include its entire context.
In this paper we present an account of practical rationality and weakness of will in terms of rational capacities. We show how our account rectifies various shortcomings in Michael Smith's related theory. In particular, our account is capable of accommodating cases of weak-willed behaviour that are not `akratic', or otherwise contrary to the agent's better judgement. Our account differs from Smith's primarily by incorporating resolve: a third rational capacity for resolute maintenance of one's intentions. We discuss further two ways to (...) explain the importance of resolve to practical rationality: one based on Richard Holton's recent work, and an alternative, non-consequentialist account. (shrink)
It is sometimes argued that if God were to exist, then the actual world would be the best possible world. However, given that the actual world is clearly not the best possible world, then God doesn’t exist. In response, some have argued that the world could always be improved with the creation of new people and that there is thus no best possible world. I argue that this reasoning gives rise to an instance of Parfit’s mere addition paradox and should (...) thus be rejected. Others (Robert Adams, in particular) have argued that the actual world may, in fact, be the best possible world, at least for all actual people. I argue that this reasoning gives rise to Parfit’s non-identity problem and should thus be rejected. (shrink)
abstract Intuitively, all killings are equally wrong, no matter how old one's victim. In this paper we defend this claim — The Equal Wrongness of Killings Thesis — against a challenge presented by Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen. Lippert-Rasmussen shows The Equal Wrongness of Killings Thesis to be incompatible with two further theses: The Unequal Wrongness of Renderings Unconscious Thesis and The Equivalence Thesis. Lippert-Rasmussen argues that, of the three, The Equal Wrongness of Killings Thesis is the least defensible. He suggests that the (...) most convincing considerations apparently in favour of the Equal Wrongness thesis may be satisfied just as well if we adopt an alternative principle, a 'Prioritarian View' about the wrongness of killing. We argue that The Prioritarian View does not resolve the trilemma: it too is inconsistent with the other two theses. Instead, we argue, the most plausible resolution of the trilemma involves a rejection, rather, of The Unequal Wrongness of Renderings Unconscious Thesis. In its place, we offer an attractive principle that is compatible with both The Equal Wrongness of Killings Thesis as well as The Equivalence Thesis. (shrink)
Michael Smith has resisted Harry Frankfurt's claim that moral responsibility does not require the ability to have done otherwise. He does this by claiming that, in Frankfurt cases, the ability to do otherwise is indeed present, but is a disposition that has been `finked' or masked by other factors. We suggest that, while Smith's account appears to work for some classic Frankfurt cases, it does not work for all. In particular, Smith cannot explain cases, such as the Willing Addict, where (...) the Frankfurt devise - e.g. the addiction - is intrinsic to the agent. (shrink)
In this paper, I present a novel argument for scepticism about moral responsibility. Unlike traditional arguments, this argument doesn’t depend on contingent empirical claims about the truth or falsity of causal determinism. Rather, it is argued that the conceptual conditions of responsibility are jointly incompatible. In short, when an agent is responsible for an action, it must be true both that the action was non-accidental, and that it was open to the agent not to perform that action. However, as I (...) argue, an action is only non-accidental in those cases where it isn’t open to the agent not to perform it. (shrink)
Cotard's syndrome is a psychotic condition that includes delusion of a supernatural nature. Based on insights from recovered patients who were convinced of being immortal, we can (1) distinguish biographical experiences from cultural and evolutionary backgrounds; (2) show that cultural significance dominates biographical experiences; and (3) support Bering's view of a cognitive system dedicated to forming illusory representations of immortality.
En What Emotions Really Are y en otros artículos, Griffiths afirma que las clases naturales de los organismos vivos en Biología son cladistas. La afirmación está inmersa en una nueva teoría acerca de las clases naturales. En este trabajo examinaré los argumentos esgrimidos por Griffiths para sostener el estatus privilegiado de las clasificaciones cladistas frente a otras clasificaciones. No se discutirá la teoría de las clases naturales ofrecida, de cuyos méritos no dudo, sino su capacidad para ofrecer una solución en (...) la cuestión particular de qué sistema de clasificación de organismos debería utilizarse en Biología. In What emotions really are and in other papers Griffiths states that in Biology, natural classes ofliving organisms are clades. This assertion is made within the bounds of a new theory of natural classes. In this paper I wiIl consider the arguments employed by Griffiths to support the privileged status of the cladistic classification over other classifications. It is not Griffith's theory of natural classes what will be discussed, but his ability to offer a solution to the particular issue ofwhich classification system of organisms should be used in Biology. (shrink)
En el presente trabajo se pone de relieve una tesis del último Kuhn que ha sido, y aún es, desatendida: el carácter no universal del lenguaje. Luego de ubicarla en los textos y contextos teóricos donde aparece, se intenta aclararla a partir de algunos de sus textos posteriores. En este afán, el trabajo presente en primer lugar muestra, cómo, deben ser modificadas algunas de las propuestas filosóficas atribuidas al Kuhn clásico para poder comprender esta tesis y en segundo lugar, intenta (...) dar cuenta muy brevemente de ciertas innovaciones filosóficas del último Kuhn. Además, se comparan algunas de esas nuevas tesis de Kuhn con sus posibles -aunque nunca explicitados- interlocutores, a saber: N. Chomsky y J. Fodor. This paper draws attention to one of the theses of the Later Kuhn, which has been ignored: the non-universal character of language. After locating the thesis in the texts and theoretical contexts in which it appears, it is attempted to be clarified in view of some of his later texts. In regard of this, the paper firstly shows, how some of the philosophical proposals attributed to the Early Kuhn must be modified in order to understand it. Secondly, a very brief account for certain philosophical innovations in the Later Kuhn is attempted to be given. In addition, some of Kuhn's new theses are compared with his most likely, even if never explicit, interlocutors, namely N. Chomsky and J. Fodor. (shrink)
Review: Agency and Responsibility: A Common-Sense Moral Psychology. Agency and Responsibility: A Common-Sense Moral Psychology Jeanette Kennett New York Oxford University Press 2001 viii + 229 Hardback US$45 By Jeanette Kennett. Oxford University Press. New York. Pp. viii + 229. Hardback:US$45.
This paper explores the outlines of a framework for evaluating arguments. Among the factors to take into account are the strength of the arguers' inferences, the level of their engagement with objections raised by other interlocutors, and their effectiveness in rationally persuading their target audiences. Some connections among these can be understood only in the context of meta-argumentation and meta-rationality. The Principle of Meta-Rationality (PMR)--that reasoning rationally includes reasoning about rationality-is used to explain why it can be rational to resist (...) dialectically satisfying arguments or accept logically flawed ones. (shrink)
Pylyshyn is willing to assume that attention can influence feature integration. We argue that he concedes too much. Feature integration occurs preattentively, except in the case of certain “perverse” displays, such as those used in feature-conjunction searches.
Most writers now recognize that mental health policy and the mental health system are extremely resistant to real changes that reflect genuine biopsychosocial paradigms of mental disorder. Writers bemoaning the intransigence of the mental health system tend to focus on a small analytical level, only to find themselves mired in the rationalities of the existing system. Problems are acknowledged to be system-wide, yet few writers have used a method of analysis appropriate for systemic problems. Drawing upon the General System Theory (...) (GST) analytical perspective, this article advances a systematic approach to understand the mental health system and to facilitate the development of reform strategies that recognize the system's complexity and changing nature. The article first discusses the failure of major reform efforts in the mental health system and the limitations of mainstream analysis of mental health politics and policies with respect to the objectives of analysis and reform. This article describes how systems thinking has thus far influenced the study of the mental health policy and politics system, and argues that a systemic perspective is profitable for reconceiving the mental health system, enabling a fresh basis for the development of reform strategies. The mental health system should be seen as a social system influenced by larger political and economic dimensions, not just as a 'delivery system' scientifically constructed by neutral experts. Furthermore, the policy planning process should be viewed as part and parcel of a mental health system modeled as complex and dynamic. The systemic perspective outlined here should help both to clarify the value-based objectives that we hold for the system and, consequently, to plan for the strategic reforms that have so far eluded us. (shrink)
Culture and social structure may affect the testosterone–behavior link by shaping the way we construe events; by muting, channelling, or amplifying the drives that testosterone produces; and by affecting the distribution and level of testosterone in various parts of the population. Research on testosterone, culture, and social class has produced suggestive results, opening broad areas for research.
The claim that argumentation has no proper role in either philosophy or education, and especially not in philosophical education, flies in the face of both conventional wisdom and traditional pedagogy. There is, however, something to be said for it because it is really only provocative against a certain philosophical backdrop. Our understanding of the concept "argument" is both reflected by and molded by the specific metaphor that argument-is-war, something with winners and losers, offensive and defensive moments, and an essentially adversarial (...) structure. Such arguments may be suitable for teaching a philosophy, but not for teaching philosophy. Surely, education and philosophy do not need to be conceived as having an adversarial essence-if indeed they are thought to have any essence at all. Accordingly, philosophy and education need more pragmatic goals than even Pierce's idealized notion of truth as the end of inquiry, e.g., the simple furtherance of inquiry. For this, new metaphors for framing and understanding the concept of argumentation are needed, and some suggestions in that direction will be considered. (shrink)
In this essay we shall examine the contemporary jurisprudential thinking and legal precedents surrounding the issue of the sanctionability of pornography. We shall catalogue them by their logical presumptions, such as whether they view pornography as speech or act, whether they view pornography as obscenity, political hate-speech or anomalous other, whether they would scrutinize legislation governing pornography by a balancing of the harm of repression against the harm of permission, and who exactly they view as the victims.We shall take a (...) special interest in the most recent, but unsuccessful, attempt by a subgroup of feminists to proscribe pornography by treating it as neither political speech nor sexual speech but speech which causes harm which is both political and sexual. They would like it to be considered as a special kind of odious propaganda undeserving of protection because it promulgates a mental state conducive to criminal activity, and hence is criminal in and of itself. However, the repression of propaganda, even odious propaganda, is not so easily accomplished in this country. (shrink)