The British Government has recently agreed proposals for a National Numeracy Strategy which claims to be based on evidence concerning 'what works'. This article reviews the literature in each key area in which recommendations are made, and makes a judgement of whether the claim is justified. In some areas (e.g. calculators) the recommendations run counter to the evidence.
During the past couple of decades, philosophy of mind--with its siblings, philosophy of psychology and cognitive science--has been one of the most exciting areas of philosophy. Yet, in that time, I have come to think that there is a deep flaw in the basic conception of its object of study--a deep flaw in its conception of the so-called propositional attitudes, like belief, desire, and intention. Taking belief as the fundamental propositional attitude, scientifically-minded philosophers hold that beliefs, if there are any, (...) are brain states. I call this conception of belief. (shrink)
The topics that I shall consider are these: (1) Causal Explanatoriness of the Attitudes (Dretske, Elugardo); (2) The “Brain-Explain” Thesis and Metaphysical Constraints on Explanation (Antony, Elugardo); (3) Causal Powers of Beliefs (Meyering); (4) Microreduction (Beckermann); (5) Non-Emergent, Non-Reductive Materialism (Antony); (6) The Master Argument Against the Standard View (Dretske, Antony, Elugardo); (7) Practical Realism Extended (Meijers); (8) Alternative to Both the Standard View and Practical Realism (Newen).
Lynne Rudder Baker presents and defends a unique account of the material world: the Constitution View. In contrast to leading metaphysical views that take everyday things to be either non-existent or reducible to micro-objects, the Constitution View construes familiar things as irreducible parts of reality. Although they are ultimately constituted by microphysical particles, everyday objects are neither identical to, nor reducible to, the aggregates of microphysical particles that constitute them. The result is genuine ontological diversity: people, bacteria, donkeys, mountains (...) and microscopes are fundamentally different kinds of things - all constituted by, but not identical to, aggregates of particles. Baker supports her account with discussions of non-reductive causation, vagueness, mereology, artifacts, three-dimensionalism, ontological novelty, ontological levels and emergence. The upshot is a unified ontological theory of the entire material world that irreducibly contains people, as well as non-human living things and inanimate objects. (shrink)
What is a human person, and what is the relation between a person and his or her body? In her third book on the philosophy of mind, Lynne Rudder Baker investigates what she terms the person/body problem and offers a detailed account of the relation between human persons and their bodies. Baker's argument is based on the 'Constitution View' of persons and bodies, which aims to show what distinguishes persons from all other beings and to show how we (...) can be fully material beings without being identical to our bodies. The Constitution View yields answers to the questions 'What am I most fundamentally?', 'What is a person?', and 'What is the relation between human persons and their bodies'? Baker argues that the complex mental property of first-person perspective enables one to conceive of one's body and mental states as one's own. (shrink)
Arguing against the prevailing view that Cartesian dualism is fundamental to understanding Descartes' philosophy, Gordon Baker and Katherine Morris present a controversial examination of Descartes' philosophy. As the first full-length study of Descartes' conception of the person, Baker and Morris depart radically from traditional representations of Descartes'argument about the persona, the cogito, and the alleged "mind/body" dualism. Contesting the nearly institutionalized view that Cartesian duality is central to understanding Descartes, Baker and Morris illuminate how this "reading" has (...) been ascribed mistakenly and erroneously to Descartes. Controversially, they show how this interpretation has led to abuse both within philosophy and beyond it. Refusing to draw a distinction between the mind and the body in traditional ways, Baker and Morris open up interesting ways of conceptualizing both ourselves and philosophy itself. (shrink)
Science and mathematics: the scope and limits of mathematical fictionalism Content Type Journal Article Category Book Symposium Pages 1-26 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9640-3 Authors Christopher Pincock, University of Missouri, 438 Strickland Hall, Columbia, MO 65211-4160, USA Alan Baker, Department of Philosophy, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA 19081, USA Alexander Paseau, Wadham College, Oxford, OX1 3PN UK Mary Leng, Department of Philosophy, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD UK Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
The American Medical Association enacted its Code of Ethics in 1847, the first such national codification. In this volume, a distinguished group of experts from the fields of medicine, bioethics, and history of medicine reflect on the development of medical ethics in the United States, using historical analyses as a springboard for discussions of the problems of the present, including what the editors call "a sense of moral crisis precipitated by the shift from a system of fee-for-service medicine to a (...) system of fee-for-system medicine, better known as 'managed care.'" The authors begin with a look at how the medical profession began to consider ethical issues in the 1800s and subsequent developments in the 1900s. They then address the sociological, historical, ethical, and legal aspects of the practice of medicine. Later chapters discuss current and future challenges to medical ethics and professional values. Appendixes display various versions of the AMA's Code of Ethics as it has evolved over time. Contributors: George J. Annas, J.D., M.P.H., Arthur Isak Applbaum, Ph.D., Robert B. Baker, Ph.D., Chester R. Burns, M.D., Ph.D., Arthur L. Caplan, Ph.D., Alexander Morgan Capron, J.D., Christine K. Cassel, M.D., Linda L. Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., Eliot L. Freidson, Ph.D., Albert R. Jonsen, Ph.D., Stephen R. Latham, J.D., Ph.D., Susan E. Lederer, Ph.D., Florencia Luna, Ph.D., Edmund D. Pellegrino, M.D., Charles E. Rosenberg, Ph.D., Mark Siegler, M.D., Rosemary A. Stevens, Ph.D., Robert M. Tenery, Jr., M.D., Robert M. Veatch, Ph.D., John Harley Warner, Ph.D., Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D. (shrink)
Some recent theories of gerunds account for their hybrid properties by saying that the gerund is both a noun and a verb simultaneously. Such theories are inconsistent with the Reference-Predication Constraint (RPC), a cornerstone of Baker’s (2003) theory of lexical categories. In contrast, I defend the traditional idea that gerunds are fusions of a true verb and a syntactically distinct nominal Infl. Moreover, I give new evidence in favor of the RPC, showing how it explains the fact that nominal (...) gerunds never show subject agreement in Mapudungun, and the fact that gerunds with verb-final word order have surprising agreement properties in Lokaa. Keywords: gerunds, lexical categories, nouns, verbs, Mapudungun, Lokaa.. (shrink)
Explaining Attitudes offers a timely and important challenge to the dominant conception of belief found in the work of such philosophers as Dretske and Fodor. According to this dominant view beliefs, if they exist at all, are constituted by states of the brain. Lynne Rudder Baker rejects this view and replaces it with a quite different approach - practical realism. Seen from the perspective of practical realism, any argument that interprets beliefs as either brain states or states of immaterial (...) souls is a 'non-starter'. Practical realism takes beliefs to be states of the whole persons, rather like states of health. What a person believes is determined by what a person would do, say and think in various circumstances. Thus beliefs and other attitudes are interwoven into an integrated, commonsensical conception of reality. (shrink)
The ‘awareness principle’: theory, practice and praxis Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11016-011-9594-5 Authors Virginia Baker, Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) Ltd, PO Box 50 348, Porirua, 5240 New Zealand Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796.
Whereas professional persuasion is a means to an immediate and instrumental end (such as increased sales or enhanced corporate image), ethical persuasion must rest on or serve a deeper, morally based final (or relative last) end. Among the moral final ends of journalism, for example, are truth and freedom. There is a very real danger that advertisers and public relations practitioners will play an increasingly dysfunctional role in the communications process if means continue to be confused with ends in professional (...) persuasive communications. Means and ends will continue to be confused unless advertisers and public relations practitioners reach some level of agreement as to the moral end toward which their efforts should be directed. In this article we advance a five-part test (the TARES test) that defines this moral end, establishes ethical boundaries that should guide persuasive practices, and serves as a set of action-guiding principles directed toward a moral consequence in professional persuasion. The TARES Test consists of five principles: Truthfulness (of the message), Authenticity (of the persuader), Respect (for the persuadee), Equity (of the persuasive appeal) and Social Responsibility (for the common good). We provide checklists to guide the practitioner in moral reflection and application of TARES Test principles. (shrink)
The extended-mind thesis (EM) is the claim that mentality need not be situated just in the brain, or even within the boundaries of the skin. Some versions take "extended selves" be to relatively transitory couplings of biological organisms and external resources. First, I show how EM can be seen as an extension of traditional views of mind. Then, after voicing a couple of qualms about EM, I reject EM in favor of a more modest hypothesis that recognizes enduring subjects of (...) experience and agents with integrated bodies. Nonetheless, my modest hypothesis allows subpersonal states to have nonbiological parts that play essential roles in cognitive processing. I present empirical warrant for this modest hypothesis and show how it leaves room for science and religion to coexist. (shrink)
The expression ‘nonreductive materialism’ refers to a variety of positions whose roots lie in attempts to solve the mind-body problem. Proponents of nonreductive materialism hold that the mental is ontologically part of the material world; yet, mental properties are causally efficacious without being reducible to physical properties.s After setting out a minimal schema for nonreductive materialism (NRM) as an ontological position, I’ll canvass some classical arguments in favor of (NRM).1 Then, I’ll discuss the major challenge facing any construal of (NRM): (...) the problem of mental causation, pressed by Jaegwon Kim. Finally, I’ll offer a new solution to the problem of mental causation. (shrink)
After centuries of reflection, the issue of human freedom remains vital largely because of its connection to moral responsibility. When I ask—What is human freedom?—I mean to be asking what kind of freedom is required for moral responsibility? Questions about moral responsibility are intimately connected to questions about social policy and justice; so, the issue of moral responsibility—of desert, of whether or not anyone is ever really praiseworthy or blameworthy—has practical as well as theoretical significance.
Does mathematics ever play an explanatory role in science? If so then this opens the way for scientific realists to argue for the existence of mathematical entities using inference to the best explanation. Elsewhere I have argued, using a case study involving the prime-numbered life cycles of periodical cicadas, that there are examples of indispensable mathematical explanations of purely physical phenomena. In this paper I respond to objections to this claim that have been made by various philosophers, and I discuss (...) potential future directions of research for each side in the debate over the existence of abstract mathematical objects. Introduction: Mathematical Explanation Indispensability and Explanation Is the Mathematics Indispensable to the Explanation? 3.1 Object-level arbitrariness 3.2 Concept-level arbitrariness 3.3 Theory-level arbitrariness Is the Explanandum ‘Purely Physical’? Is the Mathematics Explanatory in Its Own Right? Does Inference to the Best Explanation Apply to Mathematics? 6.1 Leng's first argument 6.2 Leng's second argument 6.3 Leng's third argument Conclusions CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The first-person perspective is a challenge to naturalism. Naturalistic theories are relentlessly third-personal. The first-person perspective is, well, first-personal; it is the perspective from which one thinks of oneself as oneself* without the aid of any third-person name, description, demonstrative or other referential device. The exercise of the capacity to think of oneself in this first-personal way is the necessary condition of all our self-knowledge, indeed of all our self-consciousness. As important as the first-person perspective is, many philosophers have not (...) appreciated the force of the data from the first-person perspective, and suppose that the first-person perspective presents no particular problems for the naturalizing philosopher. For example, Ned Block commented, “It is of course [phenomenal] consciousness rather than...self-consciousness that has seemed such a scientific mystery.” (Block 1995, 230) And <span class='Hi'>David</span> Chalmers says that self-consciousness is one of those psychological states that “pose no deep metaphysical enigmas.” (Chalmers 1996, 24). (shrink)
Kidder's checklistfor ethical decrsion making is recommended as an addition to the existing canon of modelsfor mass media ethics. Contributions in Kidder's approach include his dichotomy between ethical dilemmas m d moral temptations, his tests for right-versus-wrong and right-versus-right issues, his framework by which to clarify values in ethical dilemmas, nnd his sequencing of the decision-making process. Kidder's model is surnmnrized nnd discussed, revisions are suggested for classroom use in medin ethics courses, nnd tke revised model is applied to media (...) ethics cases. (shrink)
Amie Thomasson has won well-deserved praise for her book, Ordinary Objects. She defends a commonsense world view and gives us “reason to think that there are fundamental particles, plants and animals, sticks and stones, tables and chairs, and even marriages and mortgages.” (p. 181) Ordinary objects comprise a vast array of things—natural objects both scientific and commonsensical, artifacts, organisms, abstract social objects.
In this paper I argue against one variety of contextualism about aesthetic predicates such as “beautiful.” Contextualist analyses of these and other predicates have been subject to several challenges surrounding disagreement. Focusing on one kind of contextualism— individualized indexical contextualism —I unpack these various challenges and consider the responses available to the contextualist. The three responses I consider are as follows: giving an alternative analysis of the concept of disagreement; claiming that speakers suffer from semantic blindness; and claiming that attributions (...) of beauty carry presuppositions of commonality. I will argue that none of the available strategies gives a response which both (a) satisfactorily explains all of the disagreement-data and (b) is plausible independent of significant evidence in favor of contextualism. I conclude that individualized indexical contextualism about the aesthetic is untenable, although this does not rule out alternative contextualist approaches to the aesthetic. (shrink)
We run into instances of material constitution everywhere we turn. Material constitution is the relation that obtains between an octagonal piece of metal and a Stop sign, between strands of DNA molecules and genes, between pieces of paper and dollar bills, between stones and monuments, between lumps of clay and statues, between human persons and their bodies—the list is endless. Although there has been a great deal of controversy recently about the nature of material constitution, I want to enter the (...) fray by setting out and defending an explicit definition of what it is for an object x to constitute an object y at time t. (shrink)
According to the Constitution View of persons, a human person is wholly constituted by (but not identical to) a human organism. This view does justice both to our similarities to other animals and to our uniqueness. As a proponent of the Constitution View, I defend the thesis that the coming-into-existence of a human person is not simply a matter of the coming-into-existence of an organism, even if that organism ultimately comes to constitute a person. Marshalling some support from developmental psychology, (...) I give a broadly materialistic account of the coming-into-existence of a human person. I argue for the metaphysical superiority of the Constitution View to Biological Animalism, Thomistic Animalism, and other forms of Substance Dualism. I conclude by discussing the single implication of the Constitution View for thinking about abortion. Footnotesa Thanks to Gareth Matthews and Catherine E. Rudder for comments. I am also grateful to other contributors to this volume, especially Robert A. Wilson, Marya Schechtman, David Oderberg, Stephen Braude, and John Finnis. (shrink)
Peter van Inwagen has offered two versions of an influential argument that has come to be called ‘the Consequence Argument’. The Consequence Argument purports to demonstrate that determinism is incompatible with free will.1 It aims to show that, if we assume determinism, we are committed to the claim that, for all propositions p, no one has or ever had any choice about p. Unfortunately, the original Consequence Argument employed an inference rule (the β-rule) that was shown to be invalid. (McKay (...) and Johnson 1996) In response, van Inwagen revised his argument. I shall argue that the conclusion of the revised Consequence Argument is wholly independent of the premiss of determinism, and hence that the revised Consequence Argument is useless in showing that determinism is incompatible with free will. (shrink)
Abstract: On standard accounts, actions are caused by reasons (Davidson), and reasons are taken to be neural phenomena. Since neural phenomena are wholly understandable from a third-person perspective, standard views have no room for any ineliminable first-personal elements in an account of the causation of action. This article aims to show that first-person perspectives play essential roles in both human and nonhuman agency. Nonhuman agents have rudimentary first-person perspectives, whereas human agents—at least rational agents and moral agents—have robust first-person perspectives. (...) The author concludes with a view of intentional causation, according to which reasons are constituted by (but not identical to) neural phenomena. The idea of constitution without identity allows for a causal account of action that automatically includes first-personal aspects of agency. (shrink)
The ontological argument in Anselm’s Proslogion II continues to generate a remarkable store of sophisticated commentary and criticism. However, in our opinion, much of this literature ignores or misrepresents the elegant simplicity of the original argument. The dialogue below seeks to restore that simplicity, with one important modification. Like the original, it retains the form of a reductio, which we think is essential to the argument’s great genius. However, it seeks to skirt the difficult question of whether 'exists' is a (...) genuine predicate by appealing instead to a distinction between having only mediated causal powers and having unmediated causal powers. Pegasus has no unmediated causal powers, but he has mediated causal powers through the thoughts, depictions, and literature in which he figures. This distinction allows us to argue about the existence of God without begging any questions. (shrink)
Nonphilosophers, if they think of philosophy at all, wonder why people work in metaphysics. After all, metaphysics, as Auden once said of poetry, makes nothing happen.1 Yet some very intelligent people are driven to spend their lives exploring metaphysical theses. Part of what motivates metaphysicians is the appeal of grizzly puzzles (like the paradox of the heap or the puzzle of the ship of Theseus). But the main reason to work in metaphysics, for me at least, is to understand the (...) shared world that we all encounter and interact with. And the shared world that we all encounter includes us self-conscious beings and our experience. The world that we inhabit is unavoidably a temporal world: the signing of the Declaration of Independence is later than the Lisbon earthquake; the Cold War is in the past; your death is in the future. There is no getting away from time. (shrink)
My aim is twofold: first, to root out the metaphysical assumptions that generate the problem of mental causation and to show that they preclude its solution; second, to dissolve the problem of mental causation by motivating rejection of one of the metaphysical assumptions that give rise to it. There are three features of this metaphysical background picture that are important for our purposes. The first concerns the nature of reality: all reality depends on physical reality, where physical reality consists of (...) a network of events.1 The second concerns the nature of causation, and the third concerns the conception of behavior. I try to vindicate a robust idea of mental causation. (shrink)
Next SectionThe nature of antimatter is examined in the context of algebraic quantum field theory. It is shown that the notion of antimatter is more general than that of antiparticles. Properly speaking, then, antimatter is not matter made up of antiparticles—rather, antiparticles are particles made up of antimatter. We go on to discuss whether the notion of antimatter is itself completely general in quantum field theory. Does the matter–antimatter distinction apply to all field theoretic systems? The answer depends on which (...) of several possible criteria we should impose on the space of physical states. 1. Introduction 2. Antiparticles on the Naive Picture 3. The Incompleteness of the Naive Picture 4. Group Representation Magic 5. What Makes the Magic Work? 5.1 Superselection rules 5.2 DHR representations 5.3 Gauge groups and the Doplicher–Roberts reconstruction 6. A Quite General Notion of Antimatter 7. Conclusions. (shrink)
Theories of the human person differ greatly in their ability to underwrite a metaphysics of resurrection. This paper compares and contrasts a number of such views in light of the Christian doctrine of resurrection. In a Christian framework, resurrection requires that the same person who exists on earth also exists in an afterlife, that a postmortem person be embodied, and that the existence of a postmortem person is brought about by a miracle. According to my view of persons (the Constitution (...) View), a human person is constituted by—but not identical to—a human organism. A person has a first-person perspective essentially, and an organism has interrelated biological functions essentially. I shall argue for the superiority the Constitution View as a metaphysical basis for resurrection. (shrink)
We pose and resolve a seeming paradox about spontaneous symmetry breaking in the quantum theory of infinite systems. For a symmetry to be spontaneously broken, it must not be implementable by a unitary operator. But Wigner's theorem guarantees that every symmetry is implemented by a unitary operator that preserves transition probabilities between pure states. We show how it is possible for a unitary operator of this sort to connect the folia of unitarily inequivalent representations. This result undermines interpretations of quantum (...) theory that hold unitary equivalence to be necessary for physical equivalence. (shrink)
The decision-theoretic account of probability in the Everett or many-worlds interpretation, advanced by David Deutsch and David Wallace, is shown to be circular. Talk of probability in Everett presumes the existence of a preferred basis to identify measurement outcomes for the probabilities to range over. But the existence of a preferred basis can only be established by the process of decoherence, which is itself probabilistic.
In the large recent literature on the nature of human persons, persons are usually studied in isolation from the world in which they live. What persons are most fundamentally, philosophers say, are human animals, or brains, or perhaps souls -- without any consideration of the social and physical environments without which persons would not exist. In this article, I want to compensate for such overly narrow focus. Instead of beginning with the nature of persons cut off from any environment, I (...) shall begin with metaphysical consideration of the world of which persons are a part. I shall then briefly describe my view of persons, according to which persons are material objects like other concrete things in the world, but are unique in their first-person perspectives. Finally, I shall consider some of the special relations that persons, and only persons, have to other things in the world. (shrink)
The phenomenon of broken spacetime symmetry in the quantum theory of infinite systems forces us to adopt an unorthodox ontology. We must abandon the standard conception of the physical meaning of these symmetries, or else deny the attractive “liberal” notion of which physical quantities are significant. A third option, more attractive but less well understood, is to abandon the existing (Halvorson-Clifton) notion of intertranslatability for quantum theories.
One of the deepest assumptions of Judaism and its offspring, Christianity, is that there is an important difference between human persons and everything else that exists in Creation. We alone are made in God’s image. We alone are the stewards of the earth. It is said in Genesis that we have “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps (...) upon the earth.” It is difficult to see how a traditional theist could deny the significance of the difference between human persons and the rest of Creation. We human persons are morally and ontologically special. (shrink)
Many Christians who argue against Christian materialism direct their arguments against what I call ‘Type-I materialism’, the thesis that I cannot exist without my organic body. I distinguish Type-I materialism from Type-II materialism, which entails only that I cannot exist without some body that supports certain mental functions. I set out a version of Type-II materialism, and argue for its superiority to Type-I materialism in an age of science. Moreover, I show that Type-II materialism can accommodate Christian doctrines like the (...) Resurrection of the Body, the Incarnation, and the intermediate state (if there is one). (shrink)
We discuss a recent attempt by Chris Daly and Simon Langford to do away with mathematical explanations of physical phenomena. Daly and Langford suggest that mathematics merely indexes parts of the physical world, and on this understanding of the role of mathematics in science, there is no need to countenance mathematical explanation of physical facts. We argue that their strategy is at best a sketch and only looks plausible in simple cases. We also draw attention to how frequently Daly and (...) Langford find themselves in conflict with mathematical and scientific practice. (shrink)
In the large recent literature on the nature of human persons, persons are usually studied in isolation from the world in which they live. What persons are most fundamentally, philosophers say, are human animals, or brains, or perhaps souls—without any consideration of the social and physical environments without which persons would not exist. I confess that I, too, have been guilty at times of focusing narrowly on persons without regard to the world in which they live.
Artifacts are objects intentionally made to serve a given purpose; natural objects come into being without human intervention. I shall argue that this difference does not signal any ontological deficiency in artifacts qua artifacts. After sketching my view of artifacts as ordinary objects, I’ll argue that ways of demarcating genuine substances do not draw a line with artifacts on one side and natural objects on the other. Finally, I’ll suggest that philosophers have downgraded artifacts because they think of metaphysics as (...) resting on a distinction between what is “mindindependent” and what is “mind dependent.” I’ll challenge the use of any such distinction as a foundation for metaphysics. (shrink)
I want to raise a question for which I have no definitive answer. The question is how to understand first-personal phenomena—phenomena that that can be discerned only from a first-personal point of view. The question stems from reflection on two claims: First, the claim of scientific naturalism that all phenomena can be described and explained by science; and second, the claim of science that everything within its purview is intersubjectively accessible, and hence that all science is constructed exclusively form the (...) third-personal point of view. Using these two claims as premises, we can construct a simple valid argument, which I’ll label ‘The Master Argument:’. (shrink)
Social Externalism is the thesis that many of our thoughts are individuated in part by the linguistic and social practices of the thinker’s community. After defending Social Externalism and arguing for its broad application, I turn to the kind of defeasible first-person authority that we have over our own thoughts. Then, I present and refute an argument that uses first-person authority to disprove Social Externalism. Finally, I argue briefly that Social Externalism—far from being incompatible with first-person authority—provides a check on (...) first-personal pronouncements and thus saves first-person authority from being simply a matter of social convention and from collapsing into the subjectivity of “what seems right is right.”. (shrink)