What does it mean to think critically about politics at a time when inequality is increasing worldwide, when struggles for the recognition of difference are eclipsing struggles for social equality, and when we lack any credible vision of an alternative to the present order? Philosopher Nancy Fraser claims that the key is to overcome the false oppositions of "postsocialist" commonsense. Refuting the view that we must choose between "the politics of recognition" and the "politics of redistribution," Fraser argues (...) for an integrative approach that encompasses the best aspects of both. (shrink)
Best known for having declared the death of God, Nietzsche was a thinker thoroughly absorbed in the Christian tradition in which he was born and raised. Yet while the atheist Nietzsche is well known, the pious Nietzsche is seldom recognised and rarely understood. Redeeming Nietzsche examines the residual theologian in the most vociferous of atheists. Fraser demonstrates that although Nietzsche rejected God, he remained obsessed with the question of human salvation. Examining his accounts of art, truth, morality and eternity, (...) Nietzsche's thought is revealed to be a series of experiments in redemption. (shrink)
Abstract Drawing on the features of “practical philosophy” described by Toulmin ( 1990 ), a “practical” ethic for animals would be rooted in knowledge of how people affect animals, and would provide guidance on the diverse ethical concerns that arise. Human activities affect animals in four broad ways: (1) keeping animals, for example, on farms and as companions, (2) causing intentional harm to animals, for example through slaughter and hunting, (3) causing direct but unintended harm to animals, for example by (...) cropping practices and vehicle collisions, and (4) harming animals indirectly by disturbing life-sustaining processes and balances of nature, for example by habitat destruction and climate change. The four types of activities raise different ethical concerns including suffering, injury, deprivation, and death (of individuals), decline of populations, disruption of ecological systems containing animals, and extinction of species. They also vary in features relevant to moral evaluation and decision-making; these include the number of animals affected, the duration of the effects, the likelihood of irreversible effects, and the degree to which the effects can be controlled. In some cases human actions can also provide benefits to animals such as shelter and health care. Four mid-level principles are proposed to make a plausible fit to the features of the four types of human activities and to address the major ethical concerns that arise. The principles are: (1) to provide good lives for the animals in our care, (2) to treat suffering with compassion, (3) to be mindful of unseen harm, and (4) to protect the life-sustaining processes and balances of nature. This “practical” approach arguably makes a better fit to the complex, real-life problems of animal ethics than the single foundational principles that have dominated much recent animal ethics philosophy. Content Type Journal Article Category Articles Pages 1-26 DOI 10.1007/s10806-011-9353-z Authors David Fraser, Animal Welfare Program, University of British Columbia, 2357 Main Mall, Vancouver, V6T 1Z4 Canada Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863. (shrink)
The annealing of voids and vacancy dislocation loops previously found in slowly cooled crystals of NiAl (Fraser, Loretto, Smallman and Wasilewski, 1971) has been studied using transmission electron microscopy. It is observed that both types of defect grow during annealing even when it is carried out in a vacuum of about 10?7 torr and that the detailed behaviour is consistent with vacancy introduction by surface oxidation. The occurrence of voids in as-grown single crystals, and the formation of vacancy-type loops (...) in quenched NiAl (Ball and Smallman 1968) may now be interpreted in terms of surface oxidation rather than a low energy of formation of vacancies in NiAl. (shrink)
"Only a wayfarer born under unruly stars would attempt to put into practice in our epoch of proliferating knowledge the Heraclitean dictum that `men who love wisdom must be inquirers into very many things indeed.'" Thus begins this remarkable interdisciplinary study of time by a master of the subject. And while developing a theory of "time as conflict," J. T. Fraser does offer "many things indeed"--an enormous range of ideas about matter, life, death, evolution, and value.
Correspondence: Chris Fraser (J) (Assistant Professor) Department of Philosophy Rm. 430, Fung King Hey Bldg. Chinese University of Hong Kong Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong Telephone: 852-9782-0560 Fax: 852-2603-5323 E-mail: email@example.com..
It has long been known that people’s causal judgments can have an impact on their moral judgments. To take a simple example, if people conclude that a behavior caused the death of ten innocent children, they will therefore be inclined to regard the behavior itself as morally wrong. So far, none of this should come as any surprise. But recent experimental work points to the existence of a second, and more surprising, aspect of the relationship between causal judgment and moral (...) judgment. It appears that the relationship can sometimes go in the opposite direction. That is, it appears that our moral judgments can sometimes impact our causal judgments. (Hence, we might first determine that a behavior is morally wrong and then, on that basis, arrive at the conclusion that it was the cause of various outcomes.). (shrink)
Quantum field theory (QFT) presents a genuine example of the underdetermination of theory by empirical evidence. There are variants of QFT—for example, the standard textbook formulation and the rigorous axiomatic formulation—that are empirically indistinguishable yet support different interpretations. This case is of particular interest to philosophers of physics because, before the philosophical work of interpreting QFT can proceed, the question of which variant should be subject to interpretation must be settled. New arguments are offered for basing the interpretation of QFT (...) on a rigorous axiomatic variant of the theory. The pivotal considerations are the roles that consistency and idealization play in this case. *Received June 2009; revised August 2009. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Waterloo, 200 University Avenue West, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada; e‐mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Most philosophical discussion of the particle concept that is afforded by quantum field theory has focused on free systems. This paper is devoted to a systematic investigation of whether the particle concept for free systems can be extended to interacting systems. The possible methods of accomplishing this are considered and all are found unsatisfactory. Therefore, an interacting system cannot be interpreted in terms of particles. As a consequence, quantum field theory does not support the inclusion of particles in our ontology. (...) In contrast to much of the recent discussion on the particle concept derived from quantum field theory, this argument does not rely on the assumption that a particulate entity be localizable. (shrink)
The Argument from Disagreement (AD) (Mackie, 1977) depends upon empirical evidence for ‘fundamental’ moral disagreement (FMD) (Doris and Stich, 2005; Doris and Plakias, 2008). Research on the Southern ‘culture of honour’ (Nisbett and Cohen, 1996) has been presented as evidence for FMD between Northerners and Southerners within the US. We raise some doubts about the usefulness of such data in settling AD. We offer an alternative based on recent work in moral psychology that targets the potential universality of morally significant (...) distinctions (e.g. means vs. side-effects, actions versus omissions). More specifically, we argue that a recent study showing that a rural Mayan population fails to perceive as morally significant the distinction between actions and omissions provides a plausible case of FMD between Mayans and Westerners. (shrink)
Although the philosophical literature on the foundations of quantum field theory recognizes the importance of Haag’s theorem, it does not provide a clear discussion of the meaning of this theorem. The goal of this paper is to make up for this deficit. In particular, it aims to set out the implications of Haag’s theorem for scattering theory, the interaction picture, the use of non-Fock representations in describing interacting fields, and the choice among the plethora of the unitarily inequivalent representations of (...) the canonical commutation relations for free and interacting fields. (shrink)
A key question for research on the evolutionary origins of morality concerns just what the target of an evolutionary explanation of morality should be. Some researchers focus on behaviors, others on systems of norms, yet others on moral emotions. Richard Joyce (2006) offers an evolutionary explanation for the trait of making moral judgments. Here, I defend Joyce’s account of moral judgment against two objections from Stephen Stich (2008). Stich’s first objection concerns the supposed universality of moral judgments as Joyce conceives (...) of them. I respond by undermining the empirical evidence upon which this objection is based. Stich’s second objection concerns the extent of the moral domain, which he takes to include far more than the considerations of harm and fairness central to Joyce’s account. In response, I outline several strategies for reconciling Stich’s observations with Joyce’s account. (shrink)
Misrecognition, taken seriously as unjust social subordination, cannot be remedied by eliminating prejudice alone. In this rejoinder to Richard Rorty, it is argued that a politics of recognition and a politics of redistribution can and should be combined. However, an identity politics that displaces redistribution and reifies group differences is deeply flawed. Here, instead, an alternative 'status' model of recognition politics is offered that encourages struggles to overcome status subordination and fosters parity of participation. Integrating this politics of recognition with (...) redistribution enables a coherent Left vision that could redress injustices of culture and of political economy simultaneously. (shrink)
Adaptationist accounts of morality attempt to explain the evolution of morality in terms of the selective advantage that judging in moral terms secured for our ancestors (e.g. Ruse 1998; Joyce 2006; Street 2006). So-called by-product explanations of morality have been presented as an alternative to adaptationist accounts (e.g. Prinz 2009; Ayala 2010; cf. Darwin 2004/1871). In assessing the relationship between adaptationist and by-product accounts, care must be taken to distinguish several related but importantly different notions: innateness, adaptation, exaptation, spandrel, and (...) by-product. (shrink)
: This essay critiques Chad Hansen’s "mass noun hypothesis," arguing that though most Classical Chinese nouns do function as mass nouns, this fact does not support the claim that pre-Qin thinkers treat the extensions of common nouns as mereological wholes, nor does it explain why they adopt nominalist semantic theories. The essay shows that early texts explain the use of common nouns by appeal to similarity relations, not mereological relations. However, it further argues that some early texts do characterize the (...) relation between individuals and collections as a mereological relation. (shrink)
This essay applies John Searle’s account of weakness of will to explore the classical Chinese problem of weak-willed action. Searle’s discussion focuses on the shortcomings of the Western classical model of rationality in explaining weakness of will, so he naturally says little about the practical ethical problem of overcoming weak-willed action, the focus of the relevant Chinese texts. Yet his theory of action, specifically his notion of the Background, suggests a compelling approach to the practical issue, one that converges with (...) a plausible account of the classical Chinese conception of agency. On this approach, the practical problem is due to weaknesses of the self in carrying out intentions. The key to overcoming the problem lies not in restructuring the agent’s affective states, as suggested by prominent interpreters of Chinese thought such as David Nivison, but in strengthening the agent’s Background capacities, much as we do when mastering new skills. (shrink)
Paul Seabright argues that strong reciprocity was crucial in the evolution of large-scale cooperation. He identifies three potential evolutionary explanations for strong reciprocity. Drawing (like Seabright) on experimental economics, I identify and elaborate a fourth explanation for strong reciprocity, which proceeds in terms of partner choice, costly signaling, and competitive altruism.
Drawing primarily on the Mòzǐ and Xúnzǐ, the article proposes an account of how knowledge and error are understood in classical Chinese epistemology and applies it to explain the absence of a skeptical argument from illusion in early Chinese thought. Arguments from illusion are associated with a representational conception of mind and knowledge, which allows the possibility of a comprehensive or persistent gap between appearance and reality. By contrast, early Chinese thinkers understand mind and knowledge primarily in terms of competence (...) or ability, not representation. Cognitive error amounts to a form of incompetence. Error is not explained as a failure to accurately represent the mind-independent reality due to misleading or illusory appearances. Instead, it can be explained metaphorically by appeal to part-whole relations: cognitive error typically occurs when agents incompetently respond to only part of their situation, rather than the whole. (shrink)
The Mohist Canons are a set of brief statements on a variety of philosophical and other topics by anonymous members of the Mohist school , an influential philosophical, social, and religious movement of China's Warring States period (479-221 B.C.).  Written and compiled most likely between the late 4th and mid 3rd century B.C., the Canons are often referred to as the “later Mohist” or “Neo-Mohist” canons, since they seem chronologically later than the bulk of the Mohist writings, most of (...) which are probably from the mid-5th to the late 4th century. The.. (shrink)
Charles Taylor has recently stated his religious leanings as being at the core of his philosophical vision for a better society. At the heart of this vision is his emphasis on transcendence: that there is something beyond life as we know it. Some years earlier, Taylor had explicitly endorsed the work of Walter Benjamin and Ernst Bloch for the way he wanted to talk about the issue of transcendence; however, neither figures prominently in his recent writings. While there may be (...) differing reasons for this omission, my main concern in this article is to show how the issue of transcendence in Benjamin's and Bloch's writings offers an interesting comparison with Taylor's work on this issue. Moreover, Benjamin and Bloch will be shown to offer ways in which Taylor can more fully express his own undeveloped articulation of transcendence through a consideration of the themes of religion, God, time and death. Key Words: art death God religion time transcendence. (shrink)
The “School of Names” ming jia ) is the traditional Chinese label for a diverse group of Warring States (479-221 B.C.) thinkers who shared an interest in language, disputation, and metaphysics. They were notorious for logic-chopping, purportedly idle conceptual puzzles, and paradoxes such as “Today go to Yue but arrive yesterday” and “A white horse is not a horse.” Because reflection on language in ancient China centered on “names”.
The partner choice approach to understanding the evolution of cooperation builds on approaches that focus on partner control by considering processes that occur prior to pair or group formation. Proponents of the partner choice approach rightly note that competition to be chosen as a partner can help solve the puzzle of cooperation. I aim to build on the partner choice approach by considering the role of signalling in partner choice. Partnership formation often requires reliable information. Signalling is thus important in (...) the context of partner choice. However, the issue of signal reliability has been understudied in the partner choice literature. The issue deserves attention because – despite what proponents of the partner choice approach sometimes claim – that approach does face a cheater problem, which we might call the problem of false advertising in biological markets. Both theoretical and empirical work is needed to address this problem. I will draw on signalling theory to provide a theoretical framework within which to organise the scattered discussions of the false advertising problem extant in the partner choice literature. I will end by discussing some empirical work on cooperation, partner choice, and punishment among humans. (shrink)
Three views of psychological emptiness, or x?, can be found in the Zhu?ngz?. The instrumental view values x? primarily as a means of efficacious action. The moderate view assigns it intrinsic value as an element of one Zhuangist vision of the good life. The radical view also takes it to be an element of the ideal life, but in this case the form of life advocated is that of the Daoist sage, who transcends mundane human concerns to merge with nature (...) or the Dào. The instrumental and moderate views articulate a relatively commonsensical position, on which the agent continues to pursue at least some characteristically human projects. On the radical view, by contrast, the agent ceases to exercise agency and lives a life hardly recognizable as human. The three views thus signal a tension in Zhuangist ethics, and the unattractiveness of the radical view poses a potential obstacle to the application of Daoist ideas in contemporary ethical discourse. The paper argues that there are principled grounds within Zhuangist thought for detaching the instrumental and moderate views from the radical view and rejecting the latter. (shrink)