The South African business world is increasingly characterised by the absence of clear ethical norms and behaviour. However, changing business circumstances has made South African organizations ethically more vulnerable. Furthermore, new perspectives on the benefits of ethical behaviour make the implementation thereof essential. A theoretical model of ethical behaviour for generating an improved understanding of ethical behaviour in organizational context is discussed. This model is used as a basis for presenting practical suggestions on the implementation of ethical behaviour in organizational (...) context. (shrink)
Unethical acts and reported cases of corruption and commercial crimes in South African business are increasing. Literature studies showed that risk groups (for instance South African managers in affirmative action positions) are functioning in a stressful environment which can give rise to unethical acts. Results pointed out that high stress correlates substantially with: to claim credit for a subordinate's work; to fail to report a co-worker's violation of company policy, to offer potential clients fully paid holidays; and to purchase shares (...) upon hearing privileged company information. In the light of this a number of recommendations were made. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against Peter van Inwagen’s claim (in “Free Will Remains a Mystery”), that agent-causal views of free will could do nothing to solve the problem of free will (specifically, the problem of chanciness). After explaining van Inwagen’s argument, I argue that he does not consider all possible manifestations of the agent-causal position. More importantly, I claim that, in any case, van Inwagen appears to have mischaracterized the problem in some crucial ways. Once we are clear on (...) the true nature of the problem of chanciness, agent-causal views do much to eradicate it. (shrink)
I. Introduction “We can and do see the truth about many things: ourselves, others, trees and animals, clouds and rivers—in the immediacy of experience.”1 Absent from Bas van Fraassen’s list of those things we see are paramecia and mitochondria. We do not see such things, van Fraassen has long maintained, because they are unobservable, that is, they are undetectable by means of the unaided senses.2 But notice that these two notions—what we can see in the “immediacy” of experience and what (...) is detectable by means of the unaided senses—are not the same. There is no incoherence in maintaining that the immediacy of experience is capable of disclosing to us truths concerning entities that are not detectable by the naked eye. And so, I claim, it does; science and technology provide us with the means to see things we have never seen before. Some of those things are van Fraassen’s unobservables. That suggestion is nothing new. Grover Maxwell long ago emphasized the continuity between seeing with and without instrumentation.3 Van Fraassen originally provided two responses to Maxwell’s arguments: some things that you can see with instruments you can also see without instruments (and those are the observables); and.. (shrink)
The anti-reductionist who wants to preserve the causal efficacy of mental phenomena faces several problems in regard to mental causation, i.e. mental events which cause other events, arising from her desire to accept the ontological primacy of the physical and at the same time save the special character of the mental. Psychology tries to persuade us of the former, appealing thereby to the results of experiments carried out in neurology; the latter is, however, deeply rooted in our everyday actions and (...) beliefs and despite the constant opposition of science still very much alive. Difficulties, however, arise from a combination of two claims that are widely accepted in philosophy of mind, namely, physical monism and mental realism, the acceptance of which leads us to the greatest problem of mental causation: the problem of causal exclusion. Since physical causes alone are always sufficient for physical effects mental properties are excluded from causal explanations of our behaviour, which makes them “epiphenomenal”. The article introduces Van Gulick’s solution to the exclusion problem which tries to prove that physical properties, in contrast to mental properties, do not have as much of a privileged status with respect to event causation as usually ascribed. Therefore, it makes no sense to say that physical properties are causally relevant whereas mental properties are not. This is followed by my objection to his argument for levelling mental and physical properties with respect to causation of events. I try to show that Van Gulick’s argument rests on a premise that no serious physicalist can accept. (shrink)
Van Heijenoort’s main contribution to history and philosophy of modern logic was his distinction between two basic views of logic, first, the absolutist, or universalist, view of the founding fathers, Frege, Peano, and Russell, which dominated the first, classical period of history of modern logic, and, second, the relativist, or model-theoretic, view, inherited from Boole, Schröder, and Löwenheim, which has dominated the second, contemporary period of that history. In my paper, I present the man Jean van Heijenoort (Sect. 1); then (...) I describe his way of arguing for the second view (Sect. 2); and finally I come down in favor of the first view (Sect. 3). There, I specify the version of universalism for which I am prepared to argue (Sect. 3, introduction). Choosing ZFC to play the part of universal, logical (in a nowadays forgotten sense) system, I show, through an example, how the usual model theory can be naturally given its proper place, from the universalist point of view, in the logical framework of ZFC; I outline another, not rival but complementary, semantics for admissible extensions of ZFC in the very same logical framework; I propose a way to get universalism out of the predicaments in which universalists themselves believed it to be (Sect. 3.1). Thus, if universalists of the classical period did not, in fact, construct these semantics, it was not that their universalism forbade them, in principle, to do so. The historical defeat of universalism was not technical in character. Neither was it philosophical. Indeed, it was hardly more than the victory of technicism over the very possibility of a philosophical dispute (Sect. 3.2). (shrink)
Van Heijenoort’s account of the historical development of modern logic was composed in 1974 and first published in 1992 with an introduction by his former student. What follows is a new edition with a revised and expanded introduction and additional notes.
The paper aims at drawing the main lines of a reflection about architectonic space, starting from the comparison between two hypothesis, as much as ever different: Theodor Lipps’ spatial aesthetics and Hans van der Laan’s elemental theory. The emphasis given by both authors to the intersection between directions and way, but also to the mutual subordination between thing and space, allows to rewrite the obituary of architecture as a spatial art, according to which the Modern Style has turned the spatiality (...) into its specular visibility, into the spaciousness, into the indefinite continuity of the Bigness. (shrink)
http://dx.doi.org/10.5007/1808-1711.2008v12n1p49 The aim of this article is to offer a rejoinder to an argument against scientific realism put forward by van Fraassen, based on theoretical considerations regarding microphysics. At a certain stage of his general attack to scientific realism, van Fraassen argues, in contrast to what realists typically hold, that empirical regularities should sometimes be regarded as “brute facts”, which do not ask for explanation in terms of deeper, unobservable mechanisms. The argument from microphysics formulated by van Fraassen is based (...) on the claim that in microphysics the demand for explanation leads to a demand for the so-called hidden-variable theories, which “runs contrary to at least one major school of thought in twentieth-century physics”. It is shown here that this argument does not represent an insurmountable obstacle to scientific realism, not even when a series of important theoretical and experimental results against hidden-variable theories — and not merely a conflict with a certain school of thought—is taken into account. (shrink)
http://dx.doi.org/10.5007/1808-1711.2008v12n2p121 O objetivo deste trabalho é discutir e desenvolver o diagnóstico que efetua van Fraassen (1987, p. 110) da lei de Hardy-Weinberg, de acordo coo qual esta: 1) não pode ser considerada uma lei a ser utilizada como un axioma da teoria genética de populações, pois é uma lei de equilíbrio que só vale sob certas condições especiais, 2) só determina uma subclasse de modelos, 3) sua generalização resulta vácua e 4) variantes complexas da lei podem ser deduzidas para pressupostos (...) mais realistas. A discussão e desenvolvimento deste diagnóstico será levada a cabo tomando como base noções propostas por outra das concepções semânticas afim daquela desenvolvida por van Fraassen, a saber: a concepção estruturalista das teorias, e uma reconstrução da genética clássica de populações no marco de uma tal metateoria, também apresentada neste trabalho. (shrink)
De acordo com a concepção dominante de causação, eventos espácio-temporalmente localizáveis que podem ser designados por termos singulares e descrições definidas são os únicos relata genuínos da relação causal. Isto dá apoio e é apoiado pela dicotomia aceita entre a explicação causal, concebida como uma relação intensional entre fatos ou verdades, e a relação natural e extensional da causação. O ensaio questiona este modo de ver e argumenta pela legitimidade da noção de causação por fatos: os relata de muitas relações (...) expressas pelo conector sentencial ‘(O fato) C causa (o fato) E’ podem ser causas e efeitos genuínos (I). Esta visão expandida da causação é então aplicada ao problema da causação mental. Assumindo a verdade do realizacionismo físico, o ensaio explora a conexão entre eficácia causal e relevância contrafactual de propriedades. Mostra-se que, pelo menos em muitos casos, as ligações contrafactuais corretas, requeridas pela causação, podem ser encontradas somente no nível dos fatos realizados, não no nível mais básico dos fatos realizadores (II). Finalmente, dadas as similaridades entre a defesa do fisicismo não-reducionista esboçada aqui e as tentativas menos modestas de justificação científica das pretensões do materialismo metafísico, justamente criticadas por van Fraassen como manifestações da ‘falsa consciência’, considera-se se e como a argumento principal do ensaio pode evitar o juízo crítico de van Fraassen (III). (shrink)
It is argued that, contrary to prevailing opinion, Bas van Fraassen nowhere uses the argument from underdetermination in his argument for constructive empiricism. It is explained that van Fraassen’s use of the notion of empirical equivalence in The Scientific Image has been widely misunderstood. A reconstruction of the main arguments for constructive empiricism is offered, showing how the passages that have been taken to be part of an appeal to the argument from underdetermination should actually be interpreted.
Over the last twenty years, Bas van Fraassen has developed a “new epistemology”: an attempt to sail between Bayesianism and traditional epistemology. He calls his own alternative “voluntarism”. A constant pillar of his thought is the thought that rationality involves permission rather than obligation. The present paper aims to offer an appraisal of van Fraassen’s conception of rationality. In section 2, I review the Bayesian structural conception of rationality and argue that it has been found wanting. In sections 3 and (...) 4, I analyse van Fraassen’s voluntarism. I raise some objections about van Fraassen’s reliance on prior opinion and argue that the content of a belief matters to its rationality. In section 5, I criticise van Fraassen’s view that inference to the best explanation is incoherent. Finally, in section 6, I take on van Fraassen’s conception of rationality and show that it is too thin to fully capture rational judgement. (shrink)
Projet En développant son « empirisme constructif », Bas Van Fraassen est devenu une référence incontournable pour la philosophie des sciences contemporaine. Après la vague de critiques qui, vers les années 1960, avait fait perdre à l'empirisme logique sa prédominance dans le champ des idées, le réalisme scientifique semblait s'être imposé comme le seul compte rendu acceptable du travail et des orientations de la recherche. Quine avait beau énoncer ce que pourrait être un empirisme affranchi de ses deux « dogmes (...) » (l'intangibilité de la distinction vérités analytiques / vérités synthétiques, et la réduction des constructions aux « faits »), le programme d'une philosophie des sciences empiriste renouvelée restait à l'état d'esquisse. Mais par trois ouvrages successifs, Scientific Image (1980), Laws and symmetry (1989), et Quantum mechanics an empiricist view (1991), Van Fraassen a posé les bases d'un empirisme viable, parce que capable de prendre en charge la plupart des spécificités dont se prévaut le réalisme contre l'empirisme classique ou logique, et de rendre raison des développements les plus actuels de la physique. Contre l'empirisme classique ou logique, les réalistes font d'abord valoir que la réduction de toute réalité et de tout acte de référence aux phénomènes, ne rend justice ni à la pratique du langage courant ni à celle des sciences. Lorsque quelqu'un procède à une dénomination, il ne cherche pas à désigner par là une tranche d'apparaître, ou quelque ensemble fini et répertorié d'apparitions; il pointe vers "quelque chose" dont les modalités de manifestation sans fin assignable sont pour partie anticipées et pour partie ouvertes. De même, quand un chercheur scientifique parle de l'objet de ses investigations, il ne limite pas son discours à un ensemble fini de résultats d'expérience obtenus sous des conditions instrumentales actuellement disponibles; il renvoie à une entité dont la variété des manifestations futures est prévue aussi complètement que possible (et avec un succès croissant) par des cadres conceptuels et théoriques révisables. Face à cette objection, Van Fraassen fait jouer un rôle capital aux modèles dans sa version de l'empirisme.. (shrink)
Considering Pragma-Dialectics honors the monumental contributions of one of the foremost international figures in current argumentation scholarship: Frans van Eemeren. The volume presents the research efforts of his colleagues and addresses how their work relates to the pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation with which van Eemeren’s name is so intimately connected. This tribute serves to highlight the varied approaches to the study of argumentation and is destined to inspire researchers to advance scholarship in the field far into the (...) future. Replete with contributions from highly-esteemed academics in argumentation study, chapters in this volume address such topics as: *Pragma-dialectic versus epistemic theories of arguing and arguments; *Pragma-dialectics and self-advocacy in physician-patient interactions; *The pragma-dialectical analysis of the ad hominem family; *Rhetoric, dialectic, and the functions of argument; and *The semantics of reasonableness. As an exceptional volume and a fitting tribute, this work will be of interest to all argumentation scholars considering the astute insights and scholarly legacy of Frans van Eemeren. (shrink)
Analysis shows that statements of ability are disguised conditionals. More exactly, the correct analysis of 'X could have done A' is 'If X h decided (chosen, willed ...) to do A, X would have done A'. Therefore having acted freely--having been able to act otherwise than one fact did--is compatible with determinism (with the causal determination of one's acts).
Mijn wetenschappelijke bijdrage sluit aan bij het stuk van Jan Willem Klop in deze zelfde afscheidsbundel, dat ik van Jan Willem onder embargo te lezen heb gekregen. Je zult je herinneren dat Jan Willem in de CWI lezing ter gelegenheid van zijn eredoctoraat kort refereerde aan de Thue Morse reeks. Noem deze reeks M . Jan Willem gaf de versie die start met 1. Noem het resultaat van omwisselen van nullen en enen in de Thue Morse reeks M . De (...) reeks M is wat je krijgt als je het Thue Morse proces start met 0. (shrink)
Virtue ethics is now well established as a substantive, independent normative theory. It was not always so. The revival of virtue ethics was initially spurred by influential criticisms of other normative theories, especially those made by Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, John McDowell, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Bernard Williams. 1 Because of this heritage, virtue ethics is often associated with anti-theory movements in ethics and more recently, moral particularism. There are, however, quite a few different approaches to ethics that can reasonably claim (...) to be versions of virtue ethics. The predominant strand of virtue ethics is broadly Aristotelian, although some accounts bear little resemblance to Aristotle's. In its most general form, virtue ethics is compatible with a wide range of meta-ethical and normative commitments. This diversity makes it difficult to compare virtue ethics as such with other normative theories. It can also be a challenge to see just what the various versions of virtue ethics have in common with each other. Three major types of virtue ethics are represented in the books by Rosalind Hursthouse, Michael Slote, and Christine Swanton, recommended in the following section. Each of these book sets forward a considerably self-standing form of virtue ethics. The authors differ on central issues such as the relationship between virtue and flourishing and the link between virtuous agents and right or virtuous actions. Unlike Swanton and Slote, Hursthouse defends a version of ethical naturalism that has affinities with theories recently defended by Philippa Foot and Alasdair MacIntyre. 2 Slote's theory is agent-based, meaning that his account derives judgments about the moral status of actions from moral features of agents. Hursthouse and Swanton defend theories according to which the moral status of an action depends on its broader relationship to human flourishing (Hursthouse) or whether it hits the target of a virtue (Swanton). Although these three books presently form the core of contemporary virtue ethics, there are other approaches that might reasonably be described as versions of virtue ethics, such as those presented by Julia Driver, Linda Zagzebski, and Robert Adams. 3 There are also, of course, a large number of articles in which authors defend or criticize tenets that are central to most versions of virtue ethics. Some recent articles on especially important topics are listed in the following section. Current 'hot topics' in virtue ethics include whether its account of right action is adequate and whether virtue ethics is at odds with empirical psychology. Articles on these debates and others are listed in the following section. Author Recommends: Books These three books are foundational works in contemporary virtue ethics, and represent quite different approaches to virtue ethics. For each book, I have also listed an article by the same author in which he or she articulates some similar themes. Those pressed for time or space on a syllabus might start by examining those articles. 1. Hursthouse, Rosalind. On Virtue Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Hursthouse defends a eudaimonistic version of virtue ethics with Aristotelian affinities. *See also Hursthouse, Rosalind. 'Normative Virtue Ethics.' How Should One Live? Ed. Roger Crisp. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996. 19–36. 2. Slote, Michael. Morals from Motives. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Slote defends a version of virtue ethics based on evaluations of motives, drawing on historical figures like Martineau, Hutcheson, and Hume. Note that this book represents a fairly significant departure from his first book in virtue ethics, From Morality to Virtue (New York: Oxford, 1992). *See also Slote, Michael. 'Agent-Based Virtue Ethics.' Virtue Ethics . Ed. Roger Crisp and Michael Slote. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. 3. Swanton, Christine. Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. Swanton defends a pluralistic, non-eudaimonistic version of virtue ethics that draws on influences ranging from Aristotle to Nietzsche to contemporary psychoanalytic theory. *See also Swanton, Christine. 'A Virtue Ethical Account of Right Action.' Ethics 112 (2001): 32–52. Articles The following is a selection of articles that address some of the central and controversial topics within virtue ethics. 1. Annas, Julia. 'Being Virtuous and Doing the Right Thing.' Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 78.2 (2004): 61–75. This article addresses the problem of action guidance and the role that an account of right action should play in virtue ethics. 2. Conly, Sarah. 'Flourishing and the Failure of the Ethics of Virtue.' Midwest Studies in Philosophy Vol. XIII, Ethical Theory: Character and Virtue . Eds. P. French et al. South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988. 83–96. This article articulates the central problems faced by versions of virtue ethics that rely on a conception of human flourishing. 3. Das, Ramon. 'Virtue Ethics and Right Action.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2003): 324–39. This article raises objections about insularity and circularity to accounts of right action presented by Hursthouse, Slote, and Swanton. 4. Doris, John M. 'Persons, Situations, and Virtue Ethics.' Nous 32 (1998): 504–30. This article argues that situationist psychology undermines the concept of a character trait on which virtue ethicists rely. An expanded version of this criticism can be found in Doris, Lack of Character, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 5. Hursthouse, Rosalind. 'Virtue Theory and Abortion.' Philosophy and Public Affairs 20.3 (1991): 223–46. This article argues that virtue ethics is capable of providing action guidance in the difficult problem of abortion. 6. Johnson, Robert N. 'Virtue and Right.' Ethics 113 (2003): 810–34. This article raises several objections against the accounts of right action in virtue ethics, one of which is that they cannot make sense of the rightness of self-improving actions. The criticism is directly primarily at Hursthouse's theory, but Swanton and Slote are discussed as well. 7. Kamtekar, Rachana. 'Situationism and Virtue Ethics on the Content of Our Character.' Ethics 114 (2004): 458–91. This article argues that situationist critiques of virtue ethics rely on a mistaken understanding of virtuous character. 8. Kawall, Jason. 'Virtue Theory and Ideal Observers.' Philosophical Studies 109 (2002): 197– 222. This article argues for an ideal observer-style account of right action in virtue ethics. 9. Nussbaum, Martha. 'Non-Relative Virtues: An Aristotelian Approach.' Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. XIII, Ethical Theory: Character and Virtue . Ed. P. French et al. South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988. 32–53. This article presents a view of the virtues on which the virtues are excellences in spheres of activity. Although the spheres are common to all humans, the manifestation of excellence in a given sphere is subject to cultural variation. 10. Sreenivasan, Gopal. 'Errors about Errors: Virtue Theory and Trait Attribution.' Mind 111 (2002): 47–68. This article addresses the situationist critique of character traits by arguing that virtue ethics does not depend on the concept of a character trait as Doris and others understand it. 11. Stangl, Rebecca. 'A Dilemma for Particularist Virtue Ethics.' Philosophical Quarterly 58 (2008): 665–78. This article addresses the relationship between virtue ethics and radical moral particularism, arguing that the latter may have undesirable consequences for virtue ethicists unless they accept the unity of the virtues. 12. Stohr, Karen. 'Contemporary Virtue Ethics.' Philosophy Compass 1.1 (January 2006): 22–7. This article provides an overview and analysis of contemporary virtue ethics. It includes discussion of main problems and challenges for the future. 13. Stohr, Karen. 'Moral Cacophony: When Continence is a Virtue.' Journal of Ethics 7 (2003): 339–63. This article raises problems for the commonly accepted distinction between virtue and continence, arguing that the mixed emotions normally associated with continence are sometimes characteristic of virtue instead. 14. van Zyl, Liezl. 'Agent-Based Virtue Ethics and the Problem of Action Guidance.' Journal of Moral Philosophy 6 (2009): 50–69. This article defends agent-based virtue ethics against objections that it cannot distinguish agent-appraisal from act-appraisal and that it cannot provide adequate action guidance. Anthologies 1. Crisp, Roger, ed. How Should One Live? Essays on the Virtues. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996. This is one of the first virtue ethics anthologies published, and so reflects a correspondingly earlier picture of the field. The essays, however, are important and interesting in their own right, and cover a broad array of topics. 2. Crisp, Roger and Michael Slote, eds. Virtue Ethics . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. This anthology was published over a decade ago and does not capture recent developments in the field. It is, however, an admirably thorough collection of the most influential essays from the early days of virtue ethics, both promoting and criticizing it. 3. Darwall, Stephen, ed. Virtue Ethics. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003. This anthology is distinctive in that it includes material from Aristotle, Hutcheson, and Hume, along with some central contemporary sources. 4. Walker, Rebecca L. and Philip J. Ivanhoe, eds. Working Virtue. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. This recent anthology focuses on applied virtue ethics and has an excellent selection of essays by influential thinkers on topics including the environment, business, medicine, war, and poverty. Online Sources 'Virtue Ethics', Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-virtue/ Entry written by Rosalind Hursthouse and updated in 2007. 'Bibliography on Virtue Ethics', maintained by Jörg Schroth. http://www.ethikseite.de/bib/cvirtue.pdf Extensive list of work published in virtue ethics. Updated regularly, listed in both alphabetical and chronological order, and contains abstracts of papers. 'Janusblog', maintained by Guy Axtell. http://janusblog.squarespace.com/ Blog devoted to current work in virtue ethics and virtue epistemology, although with an emphasis on the latter. It contains spirited discussion among the many contributors, as well as a library of papers. Sample Syllabus This syllabus is for a graduate seminar or intense upper-level undergraduate course. Books for purchase for this course might include the Crisp and Slote anthology, the Walker and Ivanhoe anthology, and Hursthouse's On Virtue Ethics. Week 1: The Roots of Contemporary Virtue Ethics Anscombe, Elizabeth. 'Modern Moral Philosophy' (Crisp and Slote) Foot, Philippa. 'Virtues and Vices' (Crisp and Slote) MacIntyre, Alasdair. 'The Nature of the Virtues' (Crisp and Slote) Week 2: The Roots of Contemporary Virtue Ethics Stocker, Michael. 'The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories' (Crisp and Slote) Williams, Bernard. 'Morality, the Peculiar Institution' (Crisp and Slote) McDowell, John. 'Virtue and Reason' (Crisp and Slote) Week 3: Aristotelian Virtue Ethics Hursthouse, Rosalind. On Virtue Ethics, Part I Hursthouse, Rosalind. 'Practical Wisdom: A Mundane Account.' Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106.3 (2006): 283–307. Stangl, Rebecca. 'A Dilemma for Particularist Virtue Ethics' Week 4: Aristotelian Virtue Ethics Hursthouse, Rosalind. On Virtue Ethics, Part II Stark, Susan. 'Virtue and Emotion.' Nous 33.5 (2001): 440–55. Stohr, Karen. 'Moral Cacophony: When Continence is a Virtue' Week 5: Aristotelian Virtue Ethics Hursthouse, Rosalind. On Virtue Ethics, Part III Conly, Sarah. 'Flourishing and the Failure of an Ethics of Virtue' Nussbaum, Martha. 'Non-Relative Virtues: An Aristotelian Approach' MacIntyre, Alasdair. Dependent Rational Animals, chapter 10 Week 6: Agent-Based Virtue Ethics Slote, Michael 'Agent-Based Virtue Ethics' (Crisp and Slote) Slote, Michael, Morals from Motives, chapters 1 and 3 Week 7: Pluralistic Virtue Ethics Swanton, Christine. Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View , chapters 3, 4, and 11. Week 8: The Situationist Critique of Virtue Ethics Doris, John. 'Persons, Situations, and Virtue Ethics' Kamtekar, Rachana. 'Situationism and Virtue Ethics on the Content of Our Character' Sreenivasan, Gopal. 'Errors about Errors: Virtue Theory and Trait Attribution' Merritt, Maria. 'Aristotelian Virtue and the Interpersonal Aspect of Ethical Character.' Journal of Moral Philosophy 6 (2009): 23–49. Week 11: Right Action – Problems Johnson, Robert. 'Virtue and Right' Das, Ramon. 'Virtue Ethics and Right Action' Week 12: Right Action – Virtue Ethics Solutions Annas, Julia. 'Being Virtuous and Doing the Right Thing' van Zyl, Liezl. 'Agent-Based Virtue Ethics and the Problem of Action Guidance' Kawall, Jason. 'Virtue Theory and Ideal Observers' Week 13: Virtue Ethics and Professional Roles Pelligrino, Edmund. 'Professing Medicine, Virtue Based Ethics, and the Retrieval of Professionalism' (Walker and Ivanhoe) Swanton, Christine. 'Virtue Ethics, Role Ethics, and Business Ethics' (Walker and Ivanhoe) Sherman, Nancy. 'Virtue and a Warrier's Anger' (Walker and Ivanhoe) Week 14: Virtue Ethics and the Non-Human World Hursthouse, Rosalind. 'Environmental Virtue Ethics' (Walker and Ivanhoe) Walker, Rebecca. 'The Good Life for Non-Human Animals: What Virtue Requires of Humans' (Walker and Ivanhoe) Focus Questions 1. What is the relationship between virtue and flourishing? Are the virtues necessary for flourishing? Sufficient? 2. Can virtue ethics provide an adequate account of right action? 3. On what concept of a character trait does virtue ethics rely, and does situationist psychology undermine it? 4. Is the project of ethical naturalism a plausible one? To what extent does the success of Aristotelian virtue ethics depend on it? 5. How does virtue ethics affect the way that applied ethics is done? (shrink)
According to qualified-agent virtue ethics, an action is right if and only if it is what a virtuous agent would characteristically do in the circumstances. I discuss two closely related objections to this view, both of which concern the actions of the non-virtuous. The first is that this criterion sometimes gives the wrong result, for in some cases a non-virtuous agent should not do what a virtuous person would characteristically do. A second objection is it altogether fails to apply whenever (...) the agent, through previous wrongdoing, finds herself in circumstances that a virtuous person cannot be in. I focus on Rosalind Hursthouse's account of right action, and argue that it can provide a satisfactory response to both these objections. I do so by drawing attention to the distinction between action guidance and action assessment, and arguing that while the above criterion is adequate as a means of action assessment, we should turn to the virtue- and vice-rules (v-rules) for action guidance. (shrink)
In Morals from Motives (2001) Michael Slote puts forward an agent-based virtue ethics that purports to derive an account of deontic terms from aretaic evaluations of motives or character traits. In this view, an action is right if and only if it proceeds from a good or virtuous motive or at least does not come from a bad motive, and wrong if it comes from a bad motive. I argue that Slote does not provide an account of right action at (...) all, that is, if ‘right action’ is understood in the strict deontic sense of an act that is either permissible or obligatory. An examination of Slote’s treatment of the problem of moral luck shows that he presupposes a conceptual link between what is morally wrong and what is blameworthy. I conclude by suggesting that agent-based virtue ethics may do better as an attempt to eliminate deontic notions altogether. (shrink)
Some philosophers believe that a change in motive alone is sometimes sufficient to bring about a change in the deontic status (rightness or wrongness) of an action. I refer to this position as ‘weak motivism’, and distinguish it from ‘strong’ and ‘partial motivism’. I examine a number of cases where our intuitive judgements appear to support the weak motivist’s thesis, and argue that in each case an alternative explanation can be given for why a change in motive brings about (or, (...) in some cases, appears to bring about) a change in deontic status. (shrink)
In recent years, a number of writers dealingwith questions over parenthood that arisein the context of reproductive technologies andsurrogate motherhood, have appealed to thenotion of ``intentional parenthood''. Basingtheir argument on liberal values such asindividual autonomy, the freedom to entercontracts, the right to privacy, and individualself-fulfilment, they argue that contractuallystated intentions, rather than genetic orgestational relationships, should form thebasis of parental rights. Against this I arguethat parental rights do not derive fromcontractual agreements, but are based in theirobligations towards the child. I (...) then examinethe nature of the obligations that the variousparties have towards the child both pre- andpostnatally. (shrink)
INTRODUCTION Mark Alfano, Distinguished Guest Fellow, Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study -/- PART 1: What is a virtue? 1. Liezl van Zyl, Waikato 2. Heather Battaly, California State University Fullerton -/- PART 2: Can people be virtuous? 1. James Montmarquet, Tennessee State University 2. Mark Alfano, University of Oregon -/- PART 3: How are virtues individuated, and what unites them? 1. Daniel Russell, University of Arizona 2. Christian Miller, Wake Forest -/- PART 4: Does virtue contribute to flourishing? 1. (...) Robert Roberts, Baylor 2. Nancy Snow, Marquette -/- PART 5: How are moral and intellectual virtues related? 1. Ernest Sosa, Rutgers 2. Jason Baehr, Loyola Marymount University . (shrink)
Reproductive techniques and practices, ranging from ordinary birth-control measures and artificial insemination to embryo transfer and surrogate motherhood, have greatly enhanced our range of reproductive choices. As a consequence, they pose a number of difficult moral and legal questions with regard to the formation of a family and our conception of parenthood. A view that is becoming increasingly common is that parental rights and responsibilities should not be based on genetic relationships but should instead be seen as arising from agreements (...) or contracts between individuals. Accordingly, a man who consents to his wife's artificial insemination by donor (AID) and not the sperm donor, is the legal father of the child; in surrogacy agreements, the intending mother, and not the surrogate, has the right to raise the resulting child. While agreeing that biology should not form the basis for assigning legal parenthood, I argue that the theory of intentional parenthood, despite being put forward as a liberal theory, is geared toward or will have the function of protecting the nuclear family and inhibiting the formation of alternative family forms. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that the disagreement between modern moral philosophers and (some) virtue ethicists about whether motive affects rightness is a result of conceptual disagreement, and that when they develop a theory of ‘right action,’ the two parties respond to two very different questions. Whereas virtue ethicists tend to use ‘right’ as interchangeable with ‘good’ or ‘virtuous’ and as implying moral praise, modern moral philosophers use it as roughly equivalent to ‘in accordance with moral obligation.’ One implication of (...) this is that the possibility of an act being right by accident does not pose a problem for consequentialism or deontology. A further implication is that it reveals a shortcoming in virtue ethics, namely that it does not—yet needs to—present an account of moral obligation. (shrink)
This study aimed to explore the understanding of and attitudes towards academic ethics of first-year students at a South African University using a paper-based survey that yielded 3611 respondents. A degree of confusion and ambivalence regarding academic ethical issues exists. The relative wealth of respondents also appears to influence the understanding of and attitudes to academic ethics. Millennial students have a tendency to disregard ownership of knowledge. There is a need for instruction in academic ethics to instil an awareness of (...) integrity in academic pursuit, coupled with an understanding of the world views of millennials. (shrink)
South Africa is characterised by rapidly escalating crime, including white-collar crime, and unethical behaviour in public and private organisations. This necessitates innovative ways to deal with the situation. The objective of this conceptual and theoretical research is to investigate ways in which human resource management can be utilised to instil and develop an ethical corporate culture in South African organisations. A theoretical model of ethical behaviour is discussed as a basis for this study. It is indicated that human resource management (...) can have an effect on organisational factors and is therefore an important tool in developing an ethical corporate culture. (shrink)
Some philosophers believe that a change in motive alone is sometimes sufficient to bring about a change in the deontic status (rightness or wrongness) of an action. I refer to this position as âweak motivismâ, and distinguish it from âstrongâ and âpartial motivismâ. I examine a number of cases where our intuitive judgements appear to support the weak motivistâs thesis, and argue that in each case an alternative explanation can be given for why a change in motive brings about (or, (...) in some cases, appears to bring about) a change in deontic status. (shrink)
In this paper, the author defends Peter van Inwagen’s modal skepticism. Van Inwagen accepts that we have much basic, everyday modal knowledge, but denies that we have the capacity to justify philosophically interesting modal claims that are far removed from this basic knowledge. The author also defends the argument by means of which van Inwagen supports his modal skepticism, offering a rebuttal to an objection along the lines of that proposed by Geirrson. Van Inwagen argues that Stephen Yablo’s recent and (...) influential account of the relationship between conceivability and possibility supports his skeptical claims. The author’s defence involves a creative interpretation and development of Yablo’s account, which results in a recursive account of modal epistemology, what the author calls the “safe explanation” theory of modal epistemology. (shrink)
Constructive empiricism is supposed to offer a positive alternative to scientific realism that dispenses with the need for metaphysics. I first review the terms of the debate before arguing that the standard objections to constructive empiricism are not decisive. I then explain van Fraassen's views on modality and counterfactuals, and argue that, because constructive empiricism recommends on epistemological grounds belief in the empirical adequacy rather than the truth of theories, it requires that there be an objective modal distinction between the (...) observable and the unobservable. This conclusion is incompatible with van Fraassen's empiricism. Finally I explain some further problems for constructive empiricism that arise when we consider modal matters. (shrink)
Hilary Putnam and Bas C. van Fraassen have been two pivotal figures in the scientific realism debate in the second half of the twentieth century. Their initial perspectives were antithetical—defining an archetypical scientific realist position (Putnam) and a major empiricism-inspired alternative to scientific realism (van Fraassen). But as the years (and the philosophical debates) went on, there have been important lines of convergence in the stances of these two thinkers, mostly motivated by an increasing flirting with pragmatism and by a (...) growing disdain towards metaphysics. Putnam’s views went through two major turns, in a philosophical journey he aptly described as taking him “from realism back to realism” (1994, 494). Being an arch scientific realist in the 1960s and the early 1970s, he moved to a trenchant critique of metaphysical realism and the adoption of a verificationist-‘internalist’ approach (what he called pragmatic or internal realism), which he upheld roughly until the end of the twentieth century. Then he adopted a direct realist outlook, what he called “common sense” or “natural realism”, which was based on the denial of at least some of the tenets of his internalist period (e.g., the abandonment of a verificationist conception of truth), while at the same time tried to avoid “the phantasies of metaphysical realism”. It is (almost) impossible to cover all aspects of Putnam’s realist endeavours. I will therefore focus on his changing views about scientific realism. Van Fraassen occupied a space in the scientific realism debate that was left vacant by Putnam’s critique of fictionalism and verificationism, viz., an agnostic stance towards the ontological commitments of literally understood scientific theories. His positive alternative to realism, Constructive Empiricism (CE), was meant to be a position suitable for post-positivist empiricists, that is philosophers who a) take for granted the empiricist dictum that all (substantive) knowledge stems from experience; b) take science seriously (but not uncritically) as the paradigm of rational inquiry; and c) take to heart all criticism of the positivist approach to science, bound as it was to issues concerning the language of theories and the privileging of an alleged theory-neutral observational vocabulary.. (shrink)
Bas van Fraassen claims that constructive empiricism strikes a balance between the empiricist's commitments to epistemic modesty -- that one's opinion should extend no further beyond the deliverances of experience than is necessary -- and to the rationality of science. In "Should the Empiricist be a Constructive Empiricist?" I argued that if the constructive empiricist follows through on her commitment to epistemic modesty she will find herself adopting a much more extreme position than van Fraassen suggests. Van Fraassen and Bradley (...) Monton have recently responded. My purpose here is to contest their response. The goal is not merely the rebuttal of a rebuttal; there is a lesson to learn concerning the realist/anti-realist dialectic generated by van Fraassen's view. (shrink)
In this three-part paper, my concern is to expound and defend a conception of science, close to Einstein's, which I call aim-oriented empiricism. I argue that aim-oriented empiricsim has the following virtues. (i) It solve the problem of induction; (ii) it provides decisive reasons for rejecting van Fraassen's brilliantly defended but intuitively implausible constructive empiricism; (iii) it solves the problem of verisimilitude, the problem of explicating what it can mean to speak of scientific progress given that science advances from one (...) false theory to another; (iv) it enables us to hold that appropriate scientific theories, even though false, can nevertheless legitimately be interpreted realistically, as providing us with genuine , even if only approximate, knowledge of unobservable physical entities; (v) it provies science with a rational, even though fallible and non-mechanical, method for the discovery of fundamental new theories in physics. In the third part of the paper I show that Einstein made essential use of aim-oriented empiricism in scientific practice in developing special and general relativity. I conclude by considering to what extent Einstein came explicitly to advocate aim-oriented empiricism in his later years. (shrink)
This paper criticizes the dominant approaches to presupposition projection and proposes an alternative. Both the update semantics of Heim and the discourse representation theory of van der Sandt have problems in explicating the presuppositions of disjunctions. Moreover, Heim's approach is committed to a conception of accommodation that founders on the problem of informative presuppositions, and van der Sandt's approach is committed to a conception of accommodation that generates over-interpretations of utterances. The present approach borrows Karttunen's idea that instead of associating (...) presuppositions with sentences, we should define the conditions that contexts must meet in order to satisfy-the-presuppositions-of a sentence. However, in place of Karttunen's conception of contexts in terms of common ground, the present theory substitutes a conception of contexts as objective entities that are independent of the attitudes of the interlocutors. Contexts, so conceived, may be defined as containing sets of relevant possibilities. This allows us to define the conditions under which a context satisfies-the-presuppositions-of a disjunction. (shrink)
Peter van Inwagen's brand of materialism leads him to speculate that God actually removes the deceased at the moment of death and replaces the corpse with a simulacrum that decays or is cremated. Dean Zimmerman offers an account of resurrection that is loyal to Peter van Inwagen's commitment to a materialist metaphysics, with its stress on the earlier life processes of an organism immanently causing its later ones, while maintaining that resurrection is possible without involving God in any ‘body snatching’. (...) My contention is that Zimmerman's account is metaphysically impossible. His alleged ‘solution’ is at odds with the principles governing the ways in which an organism can assimilate new parts. Instead of providing a scenario where we can be resurrected, Zimmerman has merely sketched a scenario where we are duplicated. An alternative materialist account of resurrection is offered, one in which immanent causation is not necessary. (shrink)
First, I'd like to thank Professors Van Till, Pun, and McMullin for their careful and thoughtful replies. There is a deep level of agreement among all four of us; as is customary with replies and replies to replies, however, I shall concentrate on our areas of disagreement. In the cases of Van Till and McMullin, this may give an impression of deeper disagreement than actually exists. In the case of Pun it leaves me with little to say except Yea and (...) Amen; I find no serious disagreement between us. (shrink)
We often speak of an object being composed of various other objects. We say that the deck is composed of the cards, that a road is the sum total of its sections, that a house is composed of its walls, ceilings, floors, doors, etc. Suppose we have some material objects. Here is a philosophical question: what conditions must obtain for those objects to compose something? In his recent book Material Beings, Peter van Inwagen addresses this question, which he calls the (...) ‘special composition question’; his answer is:1 (1) For any material objects X , the X s compose something iff the activity of the X s constitutes a life, or there is only one of the Xs. Additionally, he accepts a simpler thesis that follows from (1):2 (2) Every material object is either a mereological atom or a living thing, where a mereological atom is an object lacking proper parts. (2) may seem radical. If it is true then there are no tables, chairs, planets, protons, galaxies, gas stations, etc. But van Inwagen does not hold it lightly— there are serious difficulties with alternate views. Moreover, he claims that.. (shrink)
In a recent article, van Fraassen has taken issue with the use to which Perrin’s experiments on Brownian motion have been put by philosophers, especially those defending scientific realism. He defends an alternative position by analysing the details of Perrin’s case in its historical context. In this reply, I argue that van Fraassen has not done the job well enough and I extend and in some respects attempt to correct his claims by close attention to the historical details.
This essay revisits Meyer Schapiro’s critique of Heidegger’s interpretation of Van Gogh’s painting of a pair of shoes in order to raise the question of the dispute between art history and philosophy as a contest increasingly ceded to the claim of the expert and the hegemony of the museum as culture and as cult or coded signifier. Following a discussion of museum culture, I offer a hermeneutic and phenomenological reading of Heidegger’s ‘Origin of the Work of Art’ and conclude by (...) taking Heidegger’s discussion of the strife between earth and world to the site of the ancient temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae as an example of the insistent foreclosure of the ancient work of art and the conflicts of the pervasive efforts of modern conservation. (shrink)
, I argued that Bas van Fraassen's constructive empiricism was undermined in various ways by his antirealism about modality. Here I offer some comments and responses to the reply to my arguments by Bradley Monton and van Fraassen . In particular, after making some minor points, I argue that Monton and van Fraassen have not done enough to show that the context dependence of counterfactuals renders their truth conditions non-objective, and I also argue that adopting modal realism does after all (...) undermine the motivation for constructive empiricism. Introduction Underdetermination and epistemic modesty Counterfactual observations Modal realism and constructive empiricism. (shrink)
In Belief and the Will, van Fraassen employed a diachronic Dutch Book argument to support a counterintuitive principle called Reflection. There and subsequently van Fraassen has put forth Reflection as a linchpin for his views in epistemology and the philosophy of science, and for the voluntarism (first-person reports of subjective probability are undertakings of commitments) that he espouses as an alternative to descriptivism (first-person reports of subjective probability are merely self-descriptions). Christensen and others have attacked Reflection, taking it to have (...) unpalatable consequences. We prescind from the question of the cogency of diachronic Dutch Book arguments, and focus on Reflection's proper interpretation. We argue that Reflection is not as counterintuitive as it appears — that once interpreted properly the status of the counterexamples given by Christensen and others is left open. We show also that descriptivism can make sense of Reflection, while voluntarism is not especially well suited to do so. (shrink)
What is not often noted about Bas van Fraassen’s distinctive approach to the scientific realism issue is that constructive empiricism, as he defines it, seems to involve a distinctively realist stance in regard to large parts of natural science. This apparent defection from the ranks of his more uncompromisingly anti‐realist colleagues raises many questions. Is he really leaning to realism here? If he is, why is this not more widely noted? And, more important, if he is, is he entitled to (...) this shyly realist concession? Does his many‐pronged attack on what he sees as the main arguments in support of realism leave him with the wherewithal? (shrink)
I. Introduction “We can and do see the truth about many things: ourselves, others, trees and animals, clouds and rivers—in the immediacy of experience.”1 Absent from Bas van Fraassen’s list of those things we see are paramecia and mitochondria. We do not see such things, van Fraassen has long maintained, because they are unobservable, that is, they are undetectable by means of the unaided senses.2 But notice that these two notions—what we can see in the “immediacy” of experience and what (...) is detectable by means of the unaided senses—are not the same. There is no incoherence in maintaining that the immediacy of experience is capable of disclosing to us truths concerning entities that are not detectable by the naked eye. And so, I claim, it does; science and technology provide us with the means to see things we have never seen before. Some of those things are van Fraassen’s unobservables. That suggestion is nothing new. Grover Maxwell long ago emphasized the continuity between seeing with and without instrumentation.3 Van Fraassen originally provided two responses to Maxwell’s arguments: some things that you can see with instruments you can also see without instruments (and those are the observables); and. (shrink)
Here, I shall argue that Van Helmont needs to be added to the list of sources on which Newton drew when formulating his doctrine of absolute time. This by no means implies that Van Helmont is the factual source of Newton's views on absolute time (I have found no clear-cut evidence in support of this claim). It is by no means my aim to debunk the importance of the other sources, but rather to broaden them. Different authors help to explain (...) different aspects of Newton's conception of absolute time. (shrink)
There is a natural objection to the epistemic coherence of Bas van Fraassen’s use of a distinction between the observable and unobservable in his constructive empiricism, an objection that has been raised with particular clarity by Alan Musgrave. We outline Musgrave’s objection, and then consider how one might interpret and evaluate van Fraassen’s response. According to the constructive empiricist, observability for us is measured with respect to the epistemic limits of human beings qua measuring devices, limitations ‘which will be described (...) in detail in the final physics and biology’ (van Fraassen 1980: 17). In order for the constructive empiricist to determine what counts as observable, he will have to appeal to our best scientific theories of light, human physiology, and so forth. To put the same point in a slightly more abstract way, in order to draw a distinction between observable and unobservable entities, the constructive empiricist needs to use his best scientific theory of observability – call it T* – to tell him the identity of the observable entities. This raises an interesting difficulty. Constructive empiricism is the view that ‘science aims to give us theories that are empirically adequate; and acceptance of a theory involves as belief only that it is empirically adequate’ (van Fraassen 1980:12). When he accepts a theory, the constructive empiricist only believes the statements of his scientific theories that are about observable entities. Thus, in order to know which statements of a scientific theory to believe, the constructive empiricist needs to know which statements of that theory are about observable entities. In particular then, the constructive empiricist only believes the statements of his theory of observability T* that are about observable entities. Therefore, in order to know which statements of T* he can believe, the constructive empiricist needs to know which statements of T* are about observable entities. However, it is T* that tells the constructive empiricist what counts as an observable entity: the constructive empiricist therefore needs to use T* to tell him which statements of T* he can believe. The fact that the distinction drawn by T* must also apply to itself is not an immediate cause for alarm.. (shrink)
Van den Belt recently examined the notion that synthetic biology and the creation of ‘artificial’ organisms are examples of scientists ‘playing God’. Here I respond to some of the issues he raises, including some of his comments on my previous discussions of the value of the term ‘life’ as a scientific concept.
In his book The Problem of Evil, Van Inwagen aims to establish that the problem of evil is a failure. My article considers his response to the evidential problem of evil. His response relies on a fundamental assumption: “Every possible world God could have actualized contains patterns of suffering morally equivalent to those of the actual world, or else is massively irregular.” While it may not be unreasonable to suggest that it is logically possible that an omnipotent, omniscient being is (...) unable to actualize a better world, a world with somewhat less, prolonged animal suffering, this hardly amounts to an adequate response to the evidential problem of evil, an argument that endeavors to establish that it is more likely than not that an omniscient, omnipotent being could have created such a world. (shrink)
The argument given by Peter van Inwagen for the second premise on his "First Formal Argument" in An Essay on Free Will is invalid. The second premise hinges on the principle that since a proposition p , some statement about the present, is actually true, ~p can't be true. ~p must be false. What is the reason? The principle is that ~p cannot be true at the same time as p . I argue that, among other things, in its attachment (...) to this sort of principle, van Inwagen's argument commits the most familiar of all the modal scope fallacies. (shrink)
Hacking argues against van Fraassen's constructive empiricism by appeal to features of microscopic imaging. Hacking relies on both our practices involving imaging instruments and the structure of the images produced by these micropractices. Van Fraassen's reply is formally correct yet fundamentally unsatisfying. I aim to strengthen van Fraassen's reply, but must then extend constructive empiricism, specifically the central notion of "theoretical immersion." I argue that immersion is more analogous to entering a virtual reality than to learning a language. This metaphor (...) assimilates instrument-based practice as well as theoretical debate and explanation, and can provide an anti-realist view of our micro-practices consonant with constructive empiricism. (shrink)
Klaus Ruthenberg and Jaap van Brakel (eds): Stuff. The nature of chemical substances Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 183-186 DOI 10.1007/s10698-009-9077-6 Authors Martín Labarca, CONICET, Universidad Nacional de Quilmes Buenos Aires Argentina Olimpia Lombardi, CONICET, Universidad de Buenos Aires Buenos Aires Argentina Journal Foundations of Chemistry Online ISSN 1572-8463 Print ISSN 1386-4238 Journal Volume Volume 11 Journal Issue Volume 11, Number 3.
Bas van Fraassen has recently argued for a "dissolution" of Hilary Putnam's well-known model-theoretic argument. In this paper I argue that, as it stands, van Fraassen's reply to Putnam is unsuccessful. Nonetheless, it suggests the form a successful response might take.
In this paper I do two things: (1) I support the claim that there is still some confusion about just what the Quine-Putnam indispensability argument is and the way it employs Quinean meta-ontology and (2) I try to dispel some of this confusion by presenting the argument in a way which reveals its important meta-ontological features, and include these features explicitly as premises. As a means to these ends, I compare Peter van Inwagen’s argument for the existence of properties with (...) Putnam’s presentation of the indispensability argument. Van Inwagen’s argument is a classic exercise in Quinean meta-ontology and yet he claims – despite his argument’s conspicuous similarities to the Quine-Putnam argument – that his own has a substantially different form. I argue, however, that there is no such difference between these two arguments even at a very high level of specificity; I show that there is a detailed generic indispensability argument that captures the single form of both. The arguments are identical in every way except for the kind of objects they argue for – an irrelevant difference for my purposes. Furthermore, Putnam’s and van Inwagen’s presentations make an assumption that is often mistakenly taken to be an important feature of the Quine-Putnam argument. Yet this assumption is only the implicit backdrop against which the argument is typically presented. This last point is brought into sharper relief by the fact that van Inwagen’s list of the four nominalistic responses to his argument is too short. His list is missing an important – and historically popular – fifth option. (shrink)
This article criticizes the attempts by Bas van Fraassen and Michael Friedman to address the challenge to rationality posed by the Kuhnian analysis of scientific revolutions. In the paper, I argue that van Fraassen's solution, which invokes a Sartrean theory of emotions to account for radical change, does not amount to justifying rationally the advancement of science but, rather, despite his protestations to the contrary, is an explanation of how change is effected. Friedman's approach, which appeals to philosophical developments at (...) a meta-theoretical level, does not really address the problem of rationality as posed by Kuhn's work. Instead of showing how, despite revolutions, scientific development is, indeed, rational, he gives a transcendental account of rational scientific progress. (shrink)
Bas van Fraassen’s empiricist reading of Perrin’s achievement invites the question: whose doubts about atoms did Perrin put to rest? This comment recontextualizes the argument and applies the notion of empirical grounding to some contemporary work in behavioral biology.
Van Fraassen's epistemology is forged from two commitments, one to a type of Bayesianism and the other to what he terms voluntarism. Van Fraassen holds that if one is going to follow a rule in belief-revision, it must be a Bayesian rule, but that one does not need to follow a rule in order to be rational. It is argued that van Fraassen's arguments for rejecting non-Bayesian rules is unsound, and that his voluntarism is subject to a fatal dilemma arising (...) from the non-monotonic character of reasoning. (shrink)
For a biological anthropologist interested in the prehistory of religion, J. Wentzel van Huyssteen's book is welcome and resonant. Van Huyssteen's central thesis is that humans' capacity for spirituality emerges from a transformation of cognition and emotions that takes place in the symbolic realm, within Homo sapiens and apart from biology. To his thesis I bring to bear three areas of response: the abundant cognitive and emotional capacities of living apes and extinct hominids; the role of symbolic ritual in the (...) evolutionary history of Homo sapiens; and the closely intertwined nature of biology and culture in the workings of evolutionary change. (shrink)
L. Albertazzi, G. J. van Tonder, and D. Vishwanath (eds): Perception Beyond Inference: The Information Content of Visual Processes Content Type Journal Article Pages 53-55 DOI 10.1007/s11023-011-9253-z Authors Lorenzo Magnani, Department of Philosophy and Computational Philosophy Laboratory, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy Journal Minds and Machines Online ISSN 1572-8641 Print ISSN 0924-6495 Journal Volume Volume 22 Journal Issue Volume 22, Number 1.
A careful analysis of Salmon’s Theoretical Realism and van Fraassen’s Constructive Empiricism shows that both share a common origin: the requirement of literal construal of theories inherited by the Standard View. However, despite this common starting point, Salmon and van Fraassen strongly disagree on the existence of unobservable entities. I argue that their different ontological commitment towards the existence of unobservables traces back to their different views on the interpretation of probability via different conceptions of induction. In fact, inferences to (...) statements claiming the existence of unobservable entities are inferences to probabilistic statements, whence the crucial importance of the interpretation of probability. (shrink)
Van Gelder has presented a position which he ties closely to a broad class of models known as dynamical models. While supporting many of his broader claims about the importance of this class (as has been argued by connectionists for quite some time), I note that there are a number of unique characteristics of his brand of dynamicism. I suggest that these characteristics engender difficulties for his view.
In [HKL00] (henceforth HKL), Hamm, Kamp and van Lambalgen declare ‘‘there is no opposition between formal and cognitive semantics,’’ notwithstanding the realist/mentalist divide. That divide separates two sides Jackendo¤ has (in [Jac96], following Chomsky) labeled E(xternalized)-semantics, relating language to a reality independent of speakers, and I(nternalized)-semantics, revolving around mental representations and thought. Although formal semanticists have (following David Lewis) traditionally leaned towards E-semantics, it is reasonable to apply formal methods also to I-semantics. This point is made clear in HKL via (...) two computational approaches to natural language semantics, Discourse Representation Theory (DRT, [KR93]) and the Event Calculus (EC) presented in [LH05]. In this short note, I wish to raise certain questions about EC that can be traced to the applicability of formal methods to E-semantics and I-semantics alike. These opposing orientations suggest di¤erent notions of time, event and representation. (shrink)
Abstract In his book Metaphysics, Peter van Inwagen constructs a version of the Cosmological Argument which does not depend on the Principle of Sufficient Reason. He goes on to reject the argument. In this paper, I construct an alternative version of the Cosmological Argument that uses some of van Inwagen's insights and yet is immune to his criticisms. If we suppose that for each contingent truth, there is some at least partial explanation, then it follows that there is some necessary (...) truth that explains the conjunction of all the contingent truths. (shrink)
Clark ends his appendix with a description of what he calls "dynamic computationalism", which he describes as an interesting hybrid between DST and GOFAI. My 'horseLISP" example could be described as an example of dynamic computationalism. It is clearly not as eliminativist as Van Gelder's computational governor example, for I am trying to come up with something like identities between computational entities and dynamic ones. Thus unlike other dynamicists, I am not doing what Clark calls "embracing a different vocabulary for (...) the understanding and analysis of brain events". I think we probably can keep much of the computational vocabulary, although the meanings of many of its terms will probably shift as much as the meaning of 'atom' has shifted since Dalton's time. The label of "dynamic computationalism" is perhaps as good a description of my position as any, but I think I would mean something slightly different by it than Clark would. (For the following, please insert the mantra "of course, this is an empirical question" (OCTEQ) every paragraph or so.). (shrink)
In an article in Utilitas Theo van Willigenburg has argued that moral valuation is distinguished from other forms of valuation by the Kantian concept of respect. He criticizes, from that standpoint, an account I put forward, which builds on the connections between moral wrongdoing, blame and withdrawal of recognition. I examine the difference between these two approaches and defend my own.
The present discussion of sociobiological approaches to ethnic nepotism takes Pierre van den Berghe ʼs theory as a starting point. Two points, which have not been addressed in former analyses, are considered to be of particular importance. It is argued that the behavioral mechanism of ethnic nepotism—as understood by van den Berghe—cannot explain ethnic boundaries and attitudes. In addition, I show that van den Bergheʼs central premise concerning ethnic nepotism is in contradiction to Hamiltonʼs formula, the essential principle of kin (...) selection theory. It is further discussed how other approaches that make reference to ethnic nepotism are related to van den Bergheʼs account and its problems. I conclude with remarks on the evolutionary explanation of ethnic phenomena. (shrink)
In his recent book on the problem of evil, Peter van Inwagen argues that both the global and local arguments from evil are failures. In this paper, we engagevan Inwagen’s book at two main points. First, we consider his understanding of what it takes for a philosophical argument to succeed. We argue that whilehis criterion for success is interesting and helpful, there is good reason to think it is too stringent. Second, we consider his responses to the global andlocal arguments (...) from evil. We argue that although van Inwagen may have adequately responded to each of these arguments, his discussion points us toa third argument from evil to which he has yet to provide a response. (shrink)
It is the aim of work in theoretical cognitive science to produce good theories of what exactly cognition amounts to, preferably theories which not only provide a framework for fruitful empirical investigation, but which also shed light on cognitive activity itself, which help us to understand our place, as cognitive agents, in a complex causally determined physical universe. The most recent such framework to gain significant fame is the so-called dynamical approach to cognition (henceforth DST, for Dynamical Systems Theory ). (...) Explaining and exploring DST is the purpose of the collection Mind as Motion: Explorations in the Dynamics of Cognition , edited by Robert Port and Timothy van Gelder. (shrink)
In this essay I first review Kaplan’s theory of linguistic character, and then explain and motivate a concept of doxastic character. I then develop some concepts for dealing with the topic of belief retention and then, finally, discuss Rip Van Winkle. I come down on Kaplan’s side with respect to the Frege-inspired strategy, narrowly construed. But I advocate something like the Frege-inspired strategy, if it is construed more broadly. On my view it is remarkably easy to retain a belief, and (...) I think Evans is quite wrong about Rip and Kaplan. The central concept I develop, however, that of an information game, is in the spirit of much of Evans’ work. I also borrow some of his terminology. (shrink)