This unpublished paper outlines a conception of habilitation into a robust form of health needed for lives of active, effective agency. (A revised version of this conception of health and healthy agency is published in Lawrence C Becker, Habilitation, Health, and Agency (Oxford University Press, 2012.) Such healthy agency is described in terms of six physiological and psychological factors (health-related traits) that vary quantitatively along three dimensions. The same six factors will describe not only healthy agency but the entire (...) range of health states. Consequently, what can be called the habilitation framework is useful for health in general, as it relates to theories of distributive justice. Further, as I will argue, the framework is a useful way of organizing an account of distributive justice generally. (shrink)
Zusammenfassung Dialektik ist eine Modevokabel geworden. In seinem Aufsatz geht Becker ihren philosophiegeschichtlichen Quellen nach. Er zeigt, daÃ die begrifflichen Konstruktionselemente der dialektischen Methode von Hegel und Marx dem SelbstbewuÃtseinstheorem der klassischen Transzendentalphilosophie entstammen. Die Wurzeln dieses Theorems reichen bis zu Descartes zurÃ¼ck. Die konsequenteste Ausbildung hat es jedoch erst in der Philosophie des deutschen Idealismus erhalten. B. macht klar, unter welchen Bedingungen es zu Marxens âmaterialistischer UmstÃ¼lpungâ der dialektischen Methode kommen konnte. In einer Kurzanalyse der Warentheorie von Marx (...) wird deutlich gemacht, wie Dialektik als Methode im Rahmen einer Ã¶konomischen Theorie fungiert und welche â irrationalen â Konsequenzen sie in diesem Ã¶konomischen und geschichtsphilosophischen Rahmen bewirkt. (shrink)
This volume brings historians of science and social historians together to consider the role of "little tools"--such as tables, reports, questionnaires, dossiers, index cards--in establishing academic and bureaucratic claims to authority and objectivity. From at least the eighteenth century onward, our science and society have been planned, surveyed, examined, and judged according to particular techniques of collecting and storing knowledge. Recently, the seemingly self-evident nature of these mundane epistemic and administrative tools, as well as the prose in which they are (...) cast, has demanded historical examination. The essays gathered here, arranged in chronological order by subject from the late seventeenth to the late twentieth century, involve close readings of primary texts and analyses of academic and bureaucratic practices as parts of material culture. The first few essays, on the early modern period, largely point to the existence of a "juridico-theological" framework for establishing authority. Later essays demonstrate the eclipse of the role of authority per se in the modern period and the emergence of the notion of "objectivity." Most of the essays here concern the German cultural space as among the best exemplars of the academic and bureaucratic practices described above. The introduction to the volume, however, is framed at a general level the closing essays also extend the analyses beyond Germany to broader considerations on authority and objectivity in historical practice. The volume will interest scholars of European history and German studies as well as historians of science. Peter Becker is Professor of Central European History, European University Institute. William Clark is Lecturer in History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University. (shrink)
Epistemic luck has been the focus of much discussion recently. Perhaps the most general knowledge-precluding type is veritic luck, where a belief is true but might easily have been false. Veritic luck has two sources, and so eliminating it requires two distinct conditions for a theory of knowledge. I argue that, when one sets out those conditions properly, a solution to the generality problem for reliabilism emerges.
It has been suggested, on the one hand, that quantum states are just states of knowledge; and, on the other, that quantum theory is merely a theory of correlations. These suggestions are confronted with problems about the nature of psycho-physical parallelism and about how we could define probabilities for our individual future observations given our individual present and previous observations. The complexity of the problems is underlined by arguments that unpredictability in ordinary everyday neural functioning, ultimately stemming from small-scale uncertainties (...) in molecular motions, may overwhelm, by many orders of magnitude, many conventionally recognized sources of observed ``quantum'' uncertainty. Some possible ways of avoiding the problems are considered but found wanting. It is proposed that a complete understanding of the relationship between subjective experience and its physical correlates requires the introduction of mathematical definitions and indeed of new physical laws. (shrink)
We model happiness as a measurement tool used to rank alternative actions. Evolution favors a happiness function that measures the individual’s success in relative terms. The optimal function, in particular, is based on a time-varying reference point –or performance benchmark –that is updated over time in a statistically optimal way in order to match the individual’s potential. Habits and peer comparisons arise as special cases of such updating process. This updating also results in a volatile level of happiness that continuously (...) reverts to its long-term mean. Throughout, we draw a parallel with a problem of optimal incentives, which allows us to apply statistical insights from agency theory to the study of happiness. (shrink)
The ethical behavior of marketing managers was examined by analyzing their responses to a series of different types of ethical dilemmas presented in vignette form. The ethical dilemmas addressed dealt with the issues of (1) coercion and control, (2) conflict of interest, (3) the physical environment, (4) paternalism, and (5) personal integrity. Responses were analyzed to discover whether managers' behavior varied by type of issue faced or whether there is some continuity to ethical behavior which transcends the type of ethical (...) problem addressed. (shrink)
For several centuries, economists, sociologists, and philosophers have been concerned with the magnitude and e¤ects of inequality. Economists have concentrated on inequality in income and wealth, and have linked this inequality to social welfare, aggregate savings and investment, economic development, and other issues. They have explained the observed degree of inequality by the e¤ect of random shocks, inherited position, and inequality..
For the philosophy of medicine, there are two things of interest about the stoic account of moral norms, quite apart from whether the rest of stoic ethical theory is compelling. One is the stoic version of naturalism: its account of practical reasoning, its solution to the is/ought problem, and its contention that norms for creating, sustaining, or restoring human health are tantamount to moral norms. The other is the stoic account of human agency: its description of the intimate connections between (...) human health, rational agency, and moral norms. There is practical guidance to be gained from exploring those connections, whether or not one is ready to follow stoic moral theory all the way to its austere end. (shrink)
A comparison of attitudes among managers from France, Germany and the United States is made with respect to codes of ethics and ethical business philosophy. Findings are also compared with past studies by Baumhart and by Brenner and Molander where data are available. While the current data appear to be consistent with the past studies, there appear to be differences in attitudes among the managers from the three countries.
Corporate entrepreneurs -- described in the academic literature as those managers or employees who do not follow the status quo of their co-workers -- are depicted as visionaries who dream of taking the company in new directions. As a result, though, in overcoming internal obstacles to reaching their professional goals they can often walk a fine line between clever resourcefulness and outright rule breaking. A framework is presented as a guideline for middle managers and organizations seeking to impede unethical behaviors (...) in the pursuit of entrepreneurial activity. This paper examines the barriers middle managers face in trying to be entrepreneurial in less supportive environments, the ethical consequences that can result, and a suggested assessment and training program for averting such dilemmas. We advise companies that embrace corporate entrepreneurship: (1) establish the needed flexibility, innovation, and employee initiative and risk-taking; (2) remove the barriers that the entrepreneurial middle manager may face to more closely align personal and organizational initiatives and reduce the need to behave unethically; and (3) include an ethical component to corporate training which will provide guidelines for instituting compliance and values components into the state-of-the-art corporate entrepreneurship programs. (shrink)
After nearly three decades of discussion about sustainable development are we any nearer to achieving it? And do we even know what a sustainable world will look like for future generations? Early definitions of sustainable development were so broad as to allow a range of interpretations based largely on individual interests and anthropocentric needs. We are measuring the performance of countless indicators of sustainable development, but is this more an exercise in applying data than meaningful progress? This article explores the (...) ultimate goals of sustainable development and the most important means of achieving this by analyzing and comparing two frameworks designed to direct attention to the fundamental means and the ends of sustainable development. (shrink)
When external groups accuse a business organization of unethical practices, managers of the accused organization usually offer a communicative response to attempt to protect their organization's public image. Even though many researchers readily concur that analysis of these communicative responses is important to our understanding of business and society conflict, few investigations have focused on developing a theoretical framework for analyzing these communicative strategies used by managers. In addition, research in this area has suffered from a lack of empirical investigation. (...) In this paper we address both of these weaknesses in the existing literature. First, we explicate Impression Management Theory as an appropriate framework for studying organizational communicative responses, paying particular attention to the concept of accounts. Second, we critique previous investigations of organizational accounts and discuss the major contributions of our study. Third, we propose a coding system and content analyze the accounts offered by managers from 21 organizations that were recently the targets of consumer boycotts. Finally, we report the results of our empirical investigation and discuss ethical issues related to organizational accounts. (shrink)
Given W.V. Quine’s and Donald Davidson’s extensive agreement about much of the philosophy of language and mind, and the obvious methodological parallels between Quine’s radical translation and Davidson’s radical interpretation, many—including Quine and Davidson—are puzzled by their occasional disagreements. I argue for the importance of attending to these disagreements, not just because doing so deepens our understanding of these influential thinkers, but because they are in fact the shadows thrown from two distinct conceptions of philosophical inquiry: Quine’s “naturalism” and (...) what I call Davidson’s “humanism.” The clash between Quine and Davidson thus provides valuable insight into the history of analytic naturalism and its malcontents. (shrink)
Donald Davidson’s epistemology is predicated on, among other things, the rejection of Experiential Foundationalism, which he calls ‘unintelligible’. In this essay, I assess Davidson’s arguments for this conclusion. I conclude that each of them fails on the basis of reasons that foundationalists and antifoundationalists alike can, and should, accept.
Problems of Rationality is divided into three parts. The first four essays defend the claim that judgments of value are objectively true. The next six expound what Davidson called "a unified theory of thought, meaning, and action". The last four discuss the problems that weakness of will and self-deception raise for Davidson's claim that ascription of intention and belief is possible only if we assume the agent's rationality. I shall discuss the three parts in sequence.
The book is an “introductory” reconstruction of Davidson on interpretation —a claim to be taken with a grain of salt. Writing introductory books has become an idol of the tribe. This is a concise book and reflects much study. It has many virtues along with some flaws. Ramberg assembles themes and puzzles from Davidson into a more or less coherent viewpoint. A special virtue is the innovative treatment of incommensurability and of the relation of Davidson’s work to hermeneutic themes. The (...) weakness comes in a certain unevenness. While generally convincing and well written, the book has low points which may leave the reader confused or unconvinced. Davidson is the hero in this book, and our hero is sometimes over idealized. (shrink)
Tracing the background of Davidson’s work in the positivists’ philosophical emigration of the 30’s and in Quine, Evnine’s “Introduction” offers a “map of the terrain to be covered” which stresses the “rationalistic” character of Davidson’s views on holism and rationality. Thus, “his main philosophical concerns ... language, the mental and action...are the ingredients of a philosophical anthropology.” In spite of Quinean roots, the view is that “Davidson has now wholly removed himself, philosophically speaking, from the empiricist tradition.” The result: a (...) “rationalism,...a genuine, non-empiricist philosophical vision.” Though appealing to those of a “rationalist” leaning, this theme seems to generalize Davidson’s criticisms of Quine’s behaviorism as a lapse from empiricism. Often, it arises from interpretive gloss just where the tough-minded reader seeks quotation. (shrink)
Donald Davidson's theory of mind is widely regarded as a normative theory. This is a something of a confusion. Once a distinction has been made between the categorisation scheme of a norm and the norm's force-maker, it becomes clear that a Davidsonian theory of mind is not a normative theory after all. Making clear the distinction, applying it to Davidson's theory of mind, and showing its significance are the main purposes of this paper. In the concluding paragraphs, a sketch (...) is given of how a truly normative Davidsonian theory of mind might be formulated. (shrink)
Donald Davidson is unquestionably one of America's greatest living philosophers. His influence on Anglo-American philosophy over the last twenty years has been enormous, and his work is an unavoidable reference point in current debates in the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. This book offers a systematic and accessible introduction to Davidson's work. Evnine begins by discussing Davidson's contribution to the philosophy of mind, including his views on action, events and causation. He then examines Davidson's work in (...) the philosophy of language. The link between meaning and truth, radical interpretation, and semantic holism are considered in detail. The final chapters deal with the metaphysical aspects of Davidson's work and seek to assess his philosophical project as a whole. (shrink)
The work of Donald Davidson (1917-2003) transformed the study of meaning. Ernie Lepore and Kirk Ludwig, two of the world's leading authorities on Davidson's work, present the definitive study of his widely admired and influential program of truth-theoretic semantics for natural languages, giving an exposition and critical examination of its foundations and applications.
Recently discovered correspondence from Oskar Becker to Hermann Weyl sheds new light on Weyl's engagement with Husserlian transcendental phenomenology in 1918-1927. Here the last two of these letters, dated July and August, 1926, dealing with issues in the philosophy of mathematics are presented, together with background and a detailed commentary. The letters provide an instructive context for re-assessing the connection between intuitionism and phenomenology in Weyl's foundational thought, and for understanding Weyl's term ‘symbolic construction’ as marking his own considered (...) position in the foundational controversy of the 1920s. In addition, they reveal Weyl's hitherto unknown objections to Becker's detailed attempt (Mathematische Existenz, 1927) to ground the transfinite phenomenologically. (shrink)
Donald Davidson has made enormous contributions to the philosophy of action, epistemology, semantics and philosophy of mind and today is recognized as one of the most important analytical philosophers of the late twentieth century. Donald Davidson: Truth, Meaning and Knowledge addresses several issues including Davidson's writings on epistemology and theory of language with their implications of ontology and philosophy of mind and his advances in the philosophy of mind in relation to the views of Williard V. Quine, John (...) McDowell and Peter F. Strawson, in essays by Roger Gibson and Anita Avarmides. (shrink)
This article examines Becker's thesis that the hypothesis that choices maximize expected utility relative to fixed and universal tastes provides a general framework for the explanation of behaviour. Three different models of preference revision are presented and their scope evaluated. The first, the classical conditioning model, explains all changes in preferences in terms of changes in the information held by the agent, holding fundamental beliefs and desires fixed. The second, the Jeffrey conditioning model, explains them in terms of changes (...) in both the information held by the agent and changes in her prior beliefs, holding her fundamental desires fixed. The final model, that of generalized conditioning, allows for explanations in terms of changes in the values of all three variables. Key Words: preference change • decision theory • probability • desirability • attitude change. (shrink)
J. E. Malpas discusses and develops the ideas of Donald Davidson, influential in contemporary thinking on the nature of understanding and meaning, and of truth and knowledge. He provides an account of Davidson's holistic and hermeneutical conception of linguistic interpretation, and, more generally, of the mind. Outlining its Quinean origins and the elements basic to Davidson's Radical Interpretation, J. E. Malpas' book goes on to elaborate this holism and to examine the indeterminacy of interpretation and the principle of charity. (...) The metaphysical and epistemological consequences of Davidson's approach are considered, particularly in relation to scepticism and relativism, the realist/anti-realist debate, and the problem of truth. Parallels are drawn between the Davidsonian emphasis on the centrality of the notion of truth and Heidegger's notion of truth as aletheia, as the book looks to structuralist, hermeneutical and phenomenological sources to illuminate Davidson's position. (shrink)
Kelly Becker has argued that in an externalist anti-luck epistemology, we must hold that knowledge requires the satisfaction of both a modalized tracking condition and a process reliability condition. We raise various problems for the examples that are supposed to establish this claim.
Existují filosofové, jejichž díly se lidé zabývají prostě proto, že mají pocit, že v nich najdou něco moudrého či užitečného. Existují ale i filosofové, jejichž díla jsou mnohými lidmi brána ne(jen) jako zdroj poučení, ale i jako jakási hádanka, která se dá luštit. Ze starověkých filosofů se tohoto druhu popularity dostalo například Herakleitovi, kterému bylo dokonce už tehdy přezdíváno skoteinos, temný. V našem století je příkladem filosofa takovéhoto druhu Wittgenstein: mezi těmi, kdo se prokousávají jeho spisy, je zjevně nemalá část (...) těch, kteří to dělají prostě proto, že jeho dílo vidí jako vyzývavý hlavolam, na kterém lze bystřit ostrovtip. I Donald Davidson se zdá být autorem tohoto typu - ač jeho spisy nejsou ani fragmentární, jako ty Herakleitovy, ani nejsou nesouvislými ‘pásmy’, jako spisy pozdního Wittgensteina. K tomuto faktu jistě přispívá zvláštní, podivně lapidární způsob, kterým se Davidson někdy vyjadřuje; my se však pokusíme ukázat, že hlavním důvodem je fakt, že nám věci, o kterých píše, předvádí z perspektivy, kterou pro čtenáře není snadné zaujmout. I přesto (a částečně ovšem asi naopak právě proto) se Davidson pozvolna propracovává na pozici pravděpodobně nejuznávanějšího filosofa USA (jakkoli se asi stěží někdy stane filosofem nejpopulárnějším). Ještě v roce 1980 bylo, domnívám se, pro mnohé překvapením, když se Richard Rorty na některých místech svého kontroverzního filosofického bestselleru Filosofie a zrcadlo přírody1 stylizuje do role pouze jakéhosi Davidsonova epigona. Davidson totiž na první pohled nepůsobí dojmem filosofa, který by aspiroval na místo v učebnicích dějin filosofie: na rozdíl od svých souputníků Quina, Putnama či Rortyho se zabývá relativně úzkým okruhem témat a na to, co se děje ve filosofii kolem něj, příliš nereaguje (na přímé dotazy často odpovídá ve stylu ‘já tomu moc nerozumím’). Od doby, co na něj Rorty takto spektakulárně poukázal, nicméně stoupá na vrcholky filosofického pantheonu ještě strměji než předtím. Dnes je pravděpodobně nejpříkladnějším představitelem toho, co nazývám postanalytickou filosofií: filosofie, která navazuje na to dobré, co přinesla analytická filosofie (na její střízlivou racionalitu, na její důraz na argumentování a odůvodňování, i na její snahu pečlivě ověřovat rozumnost všech těch otázek, na které se má odpovídat), a přitom neváhá opustit to z analytické tradice, co se dnes už zdá přežité či nesprávné (přemrštěný scientismus, apriorní despekt k jiným způsobům filosofického myšlení)2.. (shrink)
One of the earliest and most influential papers applying Darwinian theory to human cultural evolution was Donald T. Campbell’s paper “Variation and Selective Retention in Sociocultural Systems.” Campbell’s programmatic essay appeared as a chapter in a book entitled Social Change in Developing Areas (Barringer et al., 1965). It sketched a very ambitious project to apply Darwinian principles to the study of the evolution of human behavior. His essential theses were four.
Ernest Lepore and Kirk Ludwig present the definitive critical exposition of the philosophical system of Donald Davidson (1917-2003). Davidson's ideas had a deep and broad influence in the central areas of philosophy; he presented them in brilliant essays over four decades, but never set out explicitly the overarching scheme in which they all have their place. Lepore's and Ludwig's book will therefore be the key work, besides Davidson's own, for understanding one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth (...) century. (shrink)
I am very gratified to see Donald Davidson being translated into Japanese. That the work’s first translation should be into Japanese is particularly appropriate, since Davidson’s own first visiting professorship was at the University of Tokyo, in 1955. Very likely as a result of this connection, two of Davidson’s early works were published in Japan (Davidson 1955 and 1964); the first of these, in Japanese, has never been translated into English. Despite what I now perceive to be various inadequacies (...) with my book, nothing Davidson has produced since its publication has led me to believe that I was substantially mistaken about any of my interpretations. However, Davidson’s thought has continued to evolve and consequently the book is now incomplete. I try, in this preface, to make good on this incompleteness in two ways. First, I explain a new argument which has come to play a prominent part in Davidson’s recent work. Secondly, I enter in some detail into a continuing controversy over supervenience and the causal efficacy of the mental, since Davidson has advanced the issue with a new paper on the topic. A thorough up- dating of the book would also call for an examination of a few other issues, for instance, the way in which Davidson has developed what I called ‘the disappearance of mind’ (Donald Davidson, 8.3; see Davidson 1988 and 1989) and his further pronouncements on the subject of truth (1990c). (shrink)
Aside from his remarkable studies in psychology and the social sciences, Donald Thomas Campbell (1916–1996) made significant contributions to philosophy, particularly philosophy of science,epistemology, and ethics. His name and his work are inseparably linked with the evolutionary approach to explaining human knowledge (evolutionary epistemology). He was an indefatigable supporter of the naturalistic turn in philosophy and has strongly influenced the discussion of moral issues (evolutionary ethics). The aim of this paper is to briefly characterize Campbells work and to discuss (...) its philosophical implications. In particular, I show its relevance to some current debates in the intersection of biology and philosophy. In fact, philosophy of biology would look poorer without Campbells influence. The present paper is not a hagiography but an attempt to evaluate and critically discuss the meaning of Campbells work for philosophy of biology and to encourage scholars working in this field to read and re-read this work which is both challenging and inspiring. (shrink)
Thanks to their heterogeneity, the nine essays in this volume offer a clear testimony of Donald Davidson's authority, and they undoubtedly show how much his work - even if it has raised many doubts and criticisms - has been, and still is, highly influential and significant in contemporary analytical philosophy for a wide range of subjects. Moreover, the various articles not only critically and carefully analyse Davidson's theses and arguments (in particular those concerning language and knowledge), but they also (...) illustrate how such theories and ideas, despite their unavoidable difficulties, are still alive and potentially fruitful. Davidson's work is indeed an important and provocative starting point for discussing the future progress of philosophy. (shrink)
Davidson, Donald (Herbert) (b. 1917, d. 2003; American), Willis S. and Marion Slusser Professor, University of California at Berkeley (1986–2003). Previously Instructor then Professor in Philosophy at: Queens College New York (1947–1950), Stanford University, California (1950–1967), Princeton University (1967–1969), Rockefeller University, New York City (1970–1976), University of Chicago (1976–1981), University of California at Berkeley (1981–2003). John Locke Lecturer, University of Oxford (1970).
This article is a brief commentary on Donald Turner and Ford Turrell’s “The Non-Existent God: Transcendence, Humanity, and Ethics in Emmanuel Levinas.” While I agree with Turner and Turrell’s general presentation of Levinas’s existential conception of God and ethics, I reflect primarily on the reference the authors make to Kierkegaard as an existentialist forefather of Levinas. I show certain basic similarities between Levinas and Kierkegaard as existentialist thinkers, but also note their differences, also taking into consideration the influence of (...) Hegel. This paper was delivered in the APA Pacific 2007 Mini-Conference on Models of God. (shrink)
Analytic induction (AI) is an interpretation of scientific method that emerged in early twentieth-century sociology and still has some influence today. Among the studies often cited as examples are Becker’s articles on marijuana use. While these have been given less attention than the work of Lindesmith on opiate addiction and Cressey on financial trust violation, Becker’s work has distinctive features. Furthermore, it raises some important and interesting issues that relate not only to AI but to social scientific explanation (...) more generally. These concern, for example, the presence and nature of causal systems in the social world, the relationship between historical and generalizing approaches, the character and role of social scientific theories, and how they are generated. In this article Becker’s research is examined in detail, and these issues explored through comparisons with the work of Lindesmith and Cressey. (shrink)
Donald Davidson has been one of the most influential figures on modern analytic philosophy and has made seminal contributions in a wide range of subjects: philosophy of language, philosophy of action, philosophy of mind, epistemology, metaphysics and the theory of rationality. His principal work, embodied in a series of landmark essays stretching over nearly 40 years, exhibits a unity rare among philosophers contributing on so many diverse fronts. Written by a distinguished roster of philosophers, this volume includes chapters on (...) truth and meaning, the philosophy of action, radical interpretation, philosophical psychology, knowledge of the external world, other minds and our own minds, and the implications of Davidson's work for literary theory. This is the only comprehensive introduction to the full range of Davidson's work, and as such it will be of particular value to advanced undergraduates, graduates and professionals in philosophy, psychology, linguistics, and literary theory. (shrink)
Delivered only months before his death, the Gifford Lectures allowed Donald MacKay to clarify and to emphasize his views on many important issues. MacKay stressed the primacy of personal experience and the differences between persons, brains, and machines. These positions are reviewed here, as are some of the reasons why MacKay may remain relatively unknown among American psychologists, philosophers, and neuroscientists.
The essays in this volume constitute the proceedings of a conference on the work of Ddonald MacKinnon, this century's most influential British theologian. MacKinnon's work ranges from Aristotelean metaphysics to trinitarian reflection to Marxism. Surin's contributors start with MacKinnon's writings and move on to discuss such topics as his relation to Barth's theology, the controversy betwen realism and idealism, Trinity and ontology, incarnation and kenosis, the problem of evil, and MacKinnon's ethical reflections.
Paula Modersohn-Becker, widely considered to have been one of the most important independent Expressionist painters of the early twentieth century, was thirty-one years old when she gave birth to her first child. Following the then-common practice of putting women to bed rest for two-four weeks after delivery, she died of massive pulmonary embolism when she was first allowed to stand, eighteen days after giving birth. Paula had foreseen her death at a young age and was apprehensive about her pregnancy, (...) yet she painted herself as pregnant in her best known self-portrait, thus underlining the importance of the pregnancy in her life. In the light of knowledge available at the time, the authors present a brief discussion of the life and death of Paula Modersohn-Becker as a reflection on the potential dangers of blindly following conventional wisdom in the medical profession. (shrink)
The present paper proposes a critical revision of the massive truth notion, in the context of Donald Davidson’s criticism to skepticism. It´s distinguished in Davidson’s work a cuantitative sense and a cualitative sense of the massive truth, asserting that the first one has been more frequently used and has had just an intuitive level of elucidation. The main problems associated to the cuantitative notion of massive truth are revised in relation to the quantification of beliefs, the detection of error (...) on a background of truth and the application of the Davidsonian methodology to non perceptual beliefs. Over this revision it is proposed the substitution of the cuantitative notion of massive truth for a cualitative notion, and are analized its advantages over eventual skeptical objections. (shrink)
In discussing rational choice theory (RCT) as an explanation of demand behavior, Becker (1962, Journal of Political Economy, 70, 1?13) proposed a model of random choice in which consumers pick a bundle on their budget line according to a uniform distribution. This model has then been used in various ways to assess the validity of RCT and to support as-if arguments in defense of it. This paper makes both historical and methodological contributions. Historically, it investigates how the interpretation of (...)Becker random behavior evolved between the original 1962 article and the modern experimental literature on individual demand, and surveys six experiments in which it has been used as an alternative hypothesis to RCT. Methodologically, this paper conducts an assessment of the as-if defense of RCT from the standpoint of Becker's model. It argues that this defense is ?weak? in a number of senses, and that it has negatively influenced the design of experiments about RCT. (shrink)
Thomas Elsaesser claims the late Haneke as a director of ‘mind-game’ films, but his diagnosis of the appeal of such films fails to account for The White Ribbon . In this paper, I draw on the theory of radical interpretation developed by American philosopher Donald Davidson to uncover the film’s power. I argue that the focus on charity in Davidson’s account of the conditions under which an interpreter is able to find a foreign community intelligible illuminates the exquisite discomfort (...) the spectator experiences as she begins to understand the disturbed community that the film portrays. In addition, the film exposes that Davidson’s transcendental argument that language is a condition of mindedness ought to be extended along emotional and moral dimensions. We should not only hold that every rational mind is a language-user, but that every rational mind is an appropriate language-user, so as to account for minds that have true, justified beliefs but which are, nevertheless, disturbed. (shrink)
Donald Davidson foi um dos filósofos mais influentes da tradição analítica da segunda metade do século. A unidade de sua obra é constituída pelo papel central que reflexão sobre como podemos interpretar os proferimentos de um outro falante desempenha para a compreensão da natureza do significado. Davidson adota o ponto de vista metodológico de um intérprete que não pode pressupor nada sobre o significado das palavras de um falante e que não possui nenhum conhecimento detalhado de suas atitudes proposicionais. (...) Neste artigo, eu apresento inicialmente a estrutura e os pressupostos da filosofia da linguagem de Davidson; passo depois a uma discussão sobre a importância do princípio de caridade para seu projeto interpretativo e, por fim, procuro apontar as diferenças do projeto de Davidson com a hermenêutica filosófica. PALAVRAS-CHAVE – Interpretação radical. Princípio de caridade. Hermenêutica. ABSTRACT Donald Davidson was one of the most influential philosophers in the analytic tradition in the last half of the twenthy century. The unity of his work lies in the central role that the reflection on how we are able to interpret the speech of another plays in undestanding the nature of meaning. Davidson adopts the standpoint of the interpreter of the speech of another whose evidence does not, at the outset, pressupose anything about what the speaker’s words mean or any datailed knowledge of his propositional attitudes. This is the position of the radical interpreter. In this paper, I begin with an account of the assumptions and structure of Davidson’s philosophy of language; after this I discuss the philosophical importance of the principle of charity for the theory of radical interpretation and, at the end, I compare Davidson’s interpretative project to the philosophical hermeneutic. KEY WORDS – Radical interpretation. Principle of charity. Hermeneutics. (shrink)
Donald Davidson was one of the 20th Century's deepest analytic thinkers. He developed a systematic picture of the human mind and its relation to the world, an original and sustained vision that exerted a shaping influence well beyond analytic philosophy of mind and language. At its center is an idea of minded creatures as essentially rational animals: Rational animals can be interpreted, their behavior can be understood, and the contents of their thoughts are, in principle, open to others. The (...) combination of a rigorous analytic stance with aspects of humanism so distinctive of Davidsonian thought finds its maybe most characteristic expression when this central idea is brought to bear on the relation of the mental to the physical: Davidson defended the irreducibility of its rational nature while acknowledging that the mental is ultimately determined by the physical. -/- Davidson made contributions of lasting importance to a wide range of topics -- from general theory of meaning and content over formal semantics, the theories of truth, explanation, and action, to metaphysics and epistemology. His writings almost entirely consist of short, elegant, and often witty papers. These dense and thematically tightly interwoven essays present a profound challenge to the reader. -/- This book provides a concise, systematic introduction to all the main elements of Davidson's philosophy. It places the theory of meaning and content at the very center of his thought. By using interpretation, and the interpreter, as key ideas it clearly brings out the underlying structure and unified nature of Davidson's work. Kathrin Gluer carefully outlines his principal claims and arguments, and discusses them in some detail. The book thus makes Davidson's thought accessible in its genuine depth, and acquaints the reader with the main lines of discussion surrounding it. (shrink)
Donald Michie was an extraordinary character. In a scientific career that spanned nearly 65 years, he was the pioneer in several fields including computing, mouse embryology, transplantation biology, and machine intelligence. Tragically, he died in a car crash in 2007. -/- Here, Ashwin Srinivasan presents a varied collection of Michie's writings, from Colossus and computers to mouse genetics and politics. Srinivasan, a computer scientist and grand-student of Donald Michie, introduces each section and brings together an engaging collection of (...) lively essays, revealing Michie's remarkable personality and painting a picture of his life and interests. (shrink)
One of the chief aims of Donald Davidson's later work was to show that participation in a certain causal nexus involving two creatures and a shared environment–Davidson calls this nexus “triangulation”–is a metaphysically necessary condition for the acquisition of thought. This doctrine, I suggest, is aptly regarded as a form of what I call transcendental externalism. I extract two arguments for the transcendental-externalist doctrine from Davidson's writings, and argue that neither succeeds. A central interpretive claim is that the arguments (...) are primarily funded by a particular conception of the nature of non-human animal life. This conception turns out to be insupportable. The failure of Davidson's arguments presses the question of whether we could ever hope to arrive at far-reaching claims about the conditions for thought if we deny, as does Davidson, the legitimacy of the naturalistic project in the philosophy of mind. (shrink)