Is there an explanation of why the state of x's bearing the non-symmetric binary relation R to y is different from its differential opposite, the state of y's bearing R to x? One traditional view has it that the explanation is that non-symmetric relations hold of objects in an essentially directional way, ordering the relevant relata. We call this view ‘directionalism’. Kit Fine has suggested that this approach is subject to significant metaphysical difficulties, sufficient to motivate seeking an alternative analysis. (...) He considers two such alternative explanations, which he labels ‘positionalism’ and ‘anti-positionalism’. Of these he endorses the latter. We argue that anti-positionalism fails to provide a coherent explanation of the distinction between differential opposites, and that one should simply hold the minimalist position that there is no explanation for this metaphysical difference. (shrink)
This report is the product of the Arts-and-Humanities Research Council’s Connected Communities programme. The specific project being undertaken at the University of Liverpool is entitled Philosophy of Religion and Religious Communities: Defining Beliefs and Symbols. The aim of the Liverpool project as a whole is to consider the contribution philosophy of religion can make to recent debates surrounding legal cases alleging religious discrimination. Its orienting question runs, ‘when, if ever, is it acceptable to prohibit the use of religious symbols?’. The (...) present report scrutinises in detail the way in which Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights has been utilised in recent judgments concerning the uses of religious symbolism. It argues that since 1995, Strasbourg jurisprudence, followed, to some extent, by domestic jurisprudence, has displayed what we call ‘the practical turn’. This we analyse as the turn away from seeing actions solely in the light of the antecedent beliefs that they manifest to seeing actions and the practices that they compose in their own right alongside beliefs. The practical turn can, we consider, be given several slightly different detailed readings. One such is that it is the turn from consideration of high-level theoretical systems of belief (such as religions), to which actions and practices are considered subservient, to consideration of individual low-level practical beliefs on an equal footing with the actions that naturally flow from them. (shrink)
In this article I defend a new definition of what it is to commit suicide:(D) A commits suicide by performing an act x if and only if A intends that he or she kill himself or herself by performing x (under the description ‘I kill myself’), and this intention is fully satisfied.The definition has some surprising implications: various real-life examples often referred to as ‘suicides’ (e.g. ‘suicide bombers’) may well turn out not to be suicides after all.1.
Benjamin Schnieder has argued that several traditional definitions of truth-functionality fail to capture a central intuition informal characterizations of the notion often capture. The intuition is that the truth-value of a sentence that employs a truth-functional operator depends upon the truth-values of the sentences upon which the operator operates. Schnieder proposes an alternative definition of truth-functionality that is designed to accommodate this intuition. We argue that one traditional definition of ‘truth-functionality’ is immune from the counterexamples that Schnieder proposes and is (...) preferable to Schnieder’s alternative. (shrink)