It is argued that the arguments put forward by Bernard Williams and Thomas Nagel in their widely influential exchange on the problem of moral luck are marred by a failure to (i) present a coherent understanding of what is involved in the notion of luck, and (ii) adequately distinguish between the problem of moral luck and the analogue problem of epistemic luck, especially that version of the problem that is traditionally presented by the epistemological sceptic. It is further claimed that (...) once one offers a more developed notion of luck and disambiguates the problem of moral luck from the problem of epistemic luck (especially in its sceptical guise), neither of these papers is able to offer unambiguous grounds for thinking that there is a problem of moral luck. Indeed, it is shown that insofar as these papers succeed in making a prima facie case for the existence of epistemic luck, it is only the familiar sceptical variant of this problem that they identify. (shrink)
This article describes a project which involved an attempt to integrate an expert system with a hypertext database of primary and secondary text materials. Our chosen legal domain was that of the Convention on Jurisdiction and the Enforcement of Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (The Brussels Convention 1968). In this article, we address three dimensions of system design. With regard to the legal dimension, we consider the choice of domain and the representation of both knowledge and data in the (...) system. On the technological dimension, we discuss the selection of software development tools and problems associated with keeping knowledge bases and databases up-to-date. Finally, we pay particular attention to the Cinderella dimension of legal expert system development — the user interface. (shrink)
What is Knowledge? Where does it come from? Can we know anything at all? This lucid and engaging introduction grapples with these central questions in the theory of knowledge, offering a clear, non-partisan view of the main themes of epistemology. Duncan Pritchard discusses both traditional issues and contemporary ideas in thirteen easily digestible sections which include: *the value of knowledge *the structure of knowledge *virtues and faculties *perception *testimony and memory *induction *scepticism What is this thing called knowledge? contains (...) many helpful student-friendly features, Each chapter concludes with a useful summary of the main ideas discussed, a glossary of important terms, study questions, annotated further reading, and a guide to web resources. Text-boxes provide bite-sized summaries of key concepts and major philosophers, and clear and interesting examples are used throughout. This is an ideal first textbook in the theory of knowledge for undergraduates taking a first course in philosophy. (shrink)
H. Wittman, A. Desmarais, and N. Wiebe (eds.): Food Sovereignty: Reconnecting Food, Nature and Community Content Type Journal Article Category Review Paper Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s10806-012-9375-1 Authors Charles Francis, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, UNL, 279 Plant Science, Lincoln, NE 68583-0915, USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
In this paper, I do three things. First, I offer an overview of an anti-luck epistemology, as set out in my book, Epistemic Luck (Oxford University Press, Oxford 2005). Second, I attempt to meet some of the main criticisms that one might level against the key theses that I propose in this work. And finally, third, I sketch some of the ways in which the strategy of anti-luck epistemology can be developed in new directions.
Recent discussion in epistemology has seen a huge growth in interest in the topic of epistemic value. In this paper I describe the background to this new movement in epistemology and critically survey the contemporary literature on this topic.
Whereas a number of recent articles have focussed upon whether the thesis of content externalism is compatible with a certain sort of knowledge that is gained via first-person authority,1 far less attention has been given to the relationship that this thesis bears to the possession of knowledge in general and, in particular, its relation to internalist and externalist epistemologies. Nevertheless, although very few actual arguments have been presented to this end, there does seem to be a shared suspicion that content (...) externalism must be incompatible with epistemic internalism. In a recent and influential paper, however, James Chase has challenged this conventional wisdom by offering a subtle defence of the view that content externalism and epistemic internalism are, in fact, compatible after all.2 Our aim here is twofold. First, to show that Chase is only able to achieve this result because he focuses upon the internalist conception of justification, rather than knowledge. Second, to formulate one prima facie argument which shows that an internalist conception of knowledge is incompatible with an externalist conception of content, an argument which, moreover, is not touched by Chase. (shrink)
It is maintained that the arguments put forward by Bernard Williams and Thomas Nagel in their widely influential exchange on the problem of moral luck are marred by a failure to (i) present a coherent understanding of what is involved in the notion of luck, and (ii) adequately distinguish between the problem of moral luck and the analogue problem of epistemic luck, especially that version of the problem that is traditionally presented by the epistemological sceptic. It is further claimed that (...) once one offers a more developed notion of luck and disambiguates the problem of moral luck from the problem of epistemic luck (especially in its sceptical guise), neither of these papers is able to offer unambiguous grounds for thinking that there is a problem of moral luck. Indeed, it is shown that in so far as these papers succeed in making a prima facie case for the existence of epistemic luck, it is only the familiar sceptical variant of this problem that they identify. (shrink)
Let us focus on what I take it is the paradigm case of testimony—the intentional transfer of a belief from one agent to another, whether in the usual way via a verbal assertion made by the one agent to the other, or by some other means, such as through a note.1 So, for example, John says to Mary that the house is on fire (or, if you like, ‘texts’ her this message on her phone), and Mary, upon hearing this, forms (...) the belief that the house is on fire and consequently exits the building at speed. Clearly, a great deal of our beliefs are gained via testimony, and if the epistemic status of our testimonybased beliefs were to be called into question en masse, then this would present us with quite a predicament. It is thus essential that we have some plausible account of the epistemology of testimony. Our primary focus will be on the justification for our testimony-based beliefs, though along the way we will say a little about other relevant epistemic notions like epistemic entitlement as well. (shrink)
It is claimed that McDowell’s treatment of scepticism offers a potential way of resurrecting the much derided ‘Moorean’ response to scepticism in a fashion that avoids the problems facing classical internalist and externalist construals of neo-Mooreanism. I here evaluate the prospects for a McDowellian neo-Mooreanism and, in doing so, offer further support for the view.
The recent literature on the theory of knowledge has taken a distinctive turn by focusing on the role of the cognitive and intellectual virtues in the acquisition of knowledge. The main contours and motivations for such virtue-theoretic accounts of knowledge are here sketched and it is argued that virtue epistemology in its most plausible form can be regarded as a refined form of reliabilism, and thus a variety of epistemic externalism. Moreover, it is claimed that there is strong empirical support (...) in favour of the virtue epistemic position so understood, and an empirical study regarding the cognitive processes employed by medical experts in their diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy is cited in this regard. In general, it is argued that one can best account for 'expert' knowledge in terms of a virtue-theoretic epistemology that retains key reliabilist features. It is thus shown that understanding knowledge along virtue-theoretic lines has important implications for our understanding of how knowledge is acquired, and thus for the philosophy of education. (shrink)
A commonly expressed worry in the contemporary literature on the problem of epistemological scepticism is that there is something deeply intellectually unsatisfying about the dominant anti-sceptical theories. In this paper I outline the main approaches to scepticism and argue that they each fail to capture what is essential to the sceptical challenge because they fail to fully understand the role that the problem of epistemic luck plays in that challenge. I further argue that scepticism is best thought of not (...) as a quandary directed at our possession of knowledge simpliciter, but rather as concerned with a specific kind of knowledge that is epistemically desirable. On this view, the source of scepticism lies in a peculiarly epistemic form of angst. It is always by favour of Nature that one knows something. [Wittgenstein 1969: §505]. (shrink)
In this article I return to an argument that I presented in earlier work to the effect that virtue epistemology is at worse false and at best unmotivated. In the light of recent responses to this argument from such figures as John Greco, Guy Axtell, and Kelly Becker, I here re-state and re-evaluate this argument. In the process the original argument is refined and supplemented in key respects and some of the main charges against it are shown to be unfounded. (...) Nevertheless, I also argue that at least one of the objections to the original argument—due to Becker—may well be on the right lines, and I draw some conclusions in this regard. (shrink)
The recent popularity of contextualist treatments of the key epistemic concepts has tended to obscure the differences that exist between the various kinds of contextualist theses on offer. The aim of this paper is to contribute towards rectifying this problem by exploring two of the main formulations of the contextualist position currently on offer in the literature—the 'semantic' contextualist thesis put forward by Keith DeRose and David Lewis, and the 'inferential' contextualist thesis advanced by Michael Williams. It is argued that (...) by evaluating these theses in the light of each other one can gain a deeper understanding of the contextualist position. In particular, it is argued that this relative evaluation highlights one interesting way in which contextualism might be developed. (shrink)
In a recent, and influential, article, Crispin Wright maintains that a familiar form of scepticismwhich finds its core expression in Descartes’ dreaming argumentcan be defused (or, to use Wright’s own parlance, “imploded”), by showing how it employs self-defeating reasoning. I offer two fundamental reasons for rejecting Wright’s ‘implosion’ of scepticism. On the one hand, I argue that, even by Wright’s own lights, it is unclear whether there is a sceptical argument to implode in the first place. On the other, I (...) claim that even on the supposition that Wright has indeed succeeded in setting-up such an argument, he nevertheless fails to follow-through with an adequate response. A diagnosis of the failure of Wright’s approach is then given in the context of the wider sceptical debate. (shrink)
G. E. Moore famously offered a strikingly straightforward response to the radical sceptic which simply consisted of the claim that one could know, on the basis of one's knowledge that one has hands, that there exists an external world. In general, the Moorean response to scepticism maintains that we can know the denials of sceptical hypotheses on the basis of our knowledge of everyday propositions. In the recent literature two proposals have been put forward to try to accommodate, to varying (...) extents, this Moorean thesis. On the one hand, there are those who endorse an externalist version of contextualism, such as Keith DeRose, who have claimed that there must be some contexts in which Moore is right. More radically still, Ernest Sosa has expanded on this externalist thesis by arguing that, contra DeRose's contextualism, Moore may be right in all contexts. In this paper I evaluate these claims and argue that, suitably modified, one can resurrect the main elements of the Moorean anti-sceptical thesis. (shrink)
I outline Greco’s response to the Pyrrhonian challenge to epistemic externalist theories of knowledge and offer two points of criticism. I also argue, however, that there is an account of epistemic luck available which can cast some light on the dispute that Greco is concerned with, and which could, in principle at least, be regarded as being in the spirit of the proposal that Greco sets out.
(NEG) is widely accepted both by internalist and by externalists. In fact, there have been very few opponents of (NEG). Timothy Williamson (e.g., 2000) rejects (NEG), for reasons that have by now received a great deal of scrutiny.2 John McDowell also rejects (NEG), but his reasons have not received the scrutiny they deserve. This is in large part because those reasons have not been well understood. We believe that McDowell’s challenge to (NEG) is important, worthy of fair assessment, and maybe (...) even correct. In this paper, we explain McDowell’s challenge to (NEG), and also explain how McDowell can address a seemingly fatal objection to his view. (shrink)
Within evolutionary biology a distinction is frequently made between proximate and ultimate causes. One apparently plausible interpretation of this dichotomy is that proximate causes concern processes occurring during the life of an organism while ultimate causes refer to those processes (particularly natural selection) that shaped its genome. But ultimate causes are not sought through historical investigations of an organisms lineage. Rather, explanations referring to ultimate causes typically emerge from functional analyses. But these functional analyses do not identify causes of any (...) kind, much less ultimate ones. So-called ultimate explanations are not about causes in any sense resembling those of proximate explanations. The attitude, implicit in the term ultimate cause, that these functional analyses are somehow superordinate to those involving proximate causes is unfounded. Ultimate causes are neither ultimate nor causes. (shrink)
A great deal of discussion in the recent literature has been devoted to the so-called 'McKinsey' paradox which purports to show that semantic externalism is incompatible with the sort of authoritative knowledge that we take ourselves to have of our own thought contents. In this paper I examine one influential epistemological response to this paradox which is due to Crispin Wright and Martin Davies. I argue that it fails to meet the challenge posed by McKinsey but that, if it is (...) set within an externalist epistemology, it may have application to a related paradox that concerns the problem of radical scepticism. (shrink)
Taking its orientation from Peter Winch, this article critiques from a Wittgensteinian point of view some “theoreticist” tendencies within constructivism. At the heart of constructivism is the deeply Wittgensteinian idea that the world as we know and understand it is the product of human intelligence and interests. The usefulness of this idea can be vitiated by a failure to distinguish conceptual from empirical questions. I argue that such a failure characterises two influential constructivist theories, those of Ernst von Glasersfeld and (...) David Bloor. These are considered in turn. Both theories seek to give a general, causal account of knowledge: von Glasersfeld's in term of cognitive subjectivity, Bloor's in terms of social agreement. Ironically, given that both writers cite Wittgenstein as a source of theoretical inspiration, assumptions of both theories run counter to key Wittgensteinian arguments. To show that Wittgenstein's views offer no solace to the realist, the article closes with a brief consideration of John Searle's theory of knowledge. (shrink)
This article addresses the connection of ethics to risk management, and argues that there are compelling reasons to consider good ethical practice to be an essential part of such risk management. That connection has significant commercial outcomes, which include identifying potential problems, preventing fraud, the preservation of corporate reputation, and the mitigation of court penalties should any transgression arise. Information about the legal position, examples of cases, and arguments about the potential benefits of ethics are canvassed. The orientation of this (...) article is essentially Australian. It is hoped that it may provide some insights of value to other countries. (shrink)
: In this essay, I trace a rhetorical affinity between feminist postmodern theory and an Enlightenment narrative of development. This affinity consists in the valorization of mobility and the repudiation of locatedness. Although feminists deploy this rhetoric in order to accommodate differences and to accustom readers to the instability that results from such accommodation, I show how this rhetoric works to justify Western colonial development and to efface women's very different experiences of mobility in the early twenty-first century.
Spike Lee’s film 25 th Hour begins with an act of violence that it does not show: instead, the viewer hears the sounds of a dog being beaten. The dog’s menacing growl is then transformed into the growling image of Montgomery ‘Monty’ Brogan’s car speeding through New York. Monty spots the dog, and stops. It is only then that the viewer witnesses the results of the film’s ‘foundational’ act of violence: the bloody body of a dog beaten to pulp. When (...) Monty approaches the dog, it turns out the animal ‘still has some bite left in him’. Perhaps because the dog is a fighter, Monty decides to save him. Although the dog resists, he ultimately manages to get the dog in the trunk of his car. But Monty does not emerge from the rescue operation unscathed: blood is trickling from a cut in his neck. This scene can be read as a pre-figuration of a stomach-turning scene towards the end of the film, in which Monty’s friend Francis ‘Frank’ Slaughtery will beat up Monty’s face beyond recognition so that Monty will not be raped on his first night in jail. Monty’s face recalls the dog at the beginning of the film. It is through the bloody mess of their bodies that Monty and the dog begin to communicate, to enter into communion. This essay explores how this communion, this communication between Monty and the dog, comes about. I am interested, specifically, in what the significance of such an exploration might be for contemporary conceptions of community. The essay initially approaches this topic against the background of Emmanuel Levinas’ work on ethics, in which the notion of the face has played a crucial role. But its aim is really to situate the film, through the references to the work of Francis Bacon that it includes, in a more contemporary, post-Levinasian debate on an ethics of defacement. I am particularly interested in exploring the significance of such an ethics in the post-September 11 era, which is explicitly evoked at the beginning of Lee’s film. My argument is that Monty and the dog begin to communicate, to enter into a communion, and thus to form a community, through a process of defacement that simultaneously strips them from their ways of life and propels them into a shared ethical and political becoming. (shrink)
Virtue epistemology is faced with the challenge of establishing the degree to which a knower’s cognitive success is attributable to her cognitive ability. As Duncan Pritchard notes, in some cases one is inclined to a strong version of virtue epistemology, one that requires cognitive success to be because of the exercise of the relevant cognitive abilities. In other cases, a weak version of virtue epistemology seems preferable, where cognitive success need only be the product of cognitive ability. Pritchard’s (...) preference, with his anti-luck virtue epistemology, is for the latter. But as Christoph Kelp has recently argued, this preference is not without controversy. Notably, Kelp argues that Pritchard on the basis of his anti-luck virtue epistemology is impelled to cast the wrong judgment in a case that Pritchard himself discusses many times in his writings, the so-called ‘Temp case’. Though Pritchard argues that Temp lacks knowledge because his cognitive success is not a result of his cognitive ability, I concur with Kelp that Pritchard’s epistemology should in fact attribute knowledge to Temp, and show this by locating weaknesses in three distinct arguments Pritchard uses to show that Temp lacks knowledge. I subsequently argue that if Pritchard wishes to persist in denying knowledge to Temp, he should endorse what I call the ‘true description’ requirement. I close the paper by providing an argument for this requirement, controversial though it is. (shrink)
This authoritative edition was originally published in the acclaimed Oxford Authors series under the general editorship of Frank Kermode. It brings together an extensive collection of Bacon's writing - the major prose in full, together with sixteen other pieces not otherwise available - to give the essence of his work and thinking. -/- Although he had a distinguished career as a lawyer and statesman, Francis Bacon's lifelong goal was to improve and extend human knowledge. In The Advancement of Learning (...) (1605) he made a brilliant critique of the deficiencies of previous systems of thought and proposed improvements to knowledge in every area of human life. He conceived the Essays (1597, much enlarged in 1625) as a study of the formative influences on human behaviour, psychological and social. In The New Atlantis (1626) he outlined his plan for a scientific research institute in the form of a Utopian fable. In addition to these major English works this edition includes 'Of Tribute', an important early work here printed complete for the first time, and a revealing selection of his legal and political writings, together with his poetry. -/- A special feature of the edition is its extensive annotation which identifies Bacon's sources and allusions, and glosses his vocabulary. (shrink)
This volume belongs to the first new critical edition of the works of Francis Bacon (1561-1626) to have been produced since the nineteenth century. The edition presents the works in broadly chronological order and according to the best principles of modern textual scholarship. The seven works in the present volume belong to the final completed stages (Parts III-V) of Bacon's hugely ambitious six-part sequence of philosophical works, collectively entitled Instauratio magna (1620-6). All are presented in the original Latin with (...) new facing-page translations. Three of the seven texts (substantial works in two cases, and all sharing a startlingly improbable textual history) are published and translated here for the first time: these are an early version of the Historia densi, the 'lost' Abecedarium, and the Historia de animato & inanimato. Another - the Prodromi sive anticipationes philosophiae secundae - has likewise never been translated before. Together with their commentaries and the introduction they open the way to important new understandings of Bacon's mature philosophical thought. (shrink)
This is the first critical edition since the nineteenth century of Bacon's principal philosophical work in English, The Twoo Bookes of Francis Bacon. Of the proficience and advancement of Learning, divine and humane - traditionally known as The Advancement of Learning.
This volume inaugurates a new critical edition of the writings of the great English philosopher and sage Francis Bacon (1561-1626) - the first such complete edition for more than a hundred years. It contains six of Bacon's Latin scientific works, each accompanied by entirely new facing-page translations which, together with the extensive introduction and commentaries, offer fresh insights into one of the great minds of the early seventeenth century.
The major aim of this article consists in ascertaining the reasons which drove Bacon to compose what he called Instauratio Magna: a great institution of the future science in terms of an broad restoration of the past of science. It brings an exposition of his project (of what he meant to do) in contradistinction to what he effectively accomplished. Cconsidering that Kant dedicated to Bacon his Critique of Pure Reason, it is also an imperative concern of this article to search (...) for the reasons of this dedication. (shrink)
Duncan Pritchard has, in the years following his (2005) defence of a safety-based account of knowledge in Epistemic Luck, abjured his (2005) view that knowledge can be analysed exclusively in terms of a modal safety condition. He has since (Pritchard in Synthese 158:277–297, 2007; J Philosophic Res 34:33–45, 2009a, 2010) opted for an account according to which two distinct conditions function with equal importance and weight within an analysis of knowledge: an anti-luck condition (safety) and an ability condition-the (...) latter being a condition aimed at preserving what Pritchard now takes to be a fundamental insight about knowledge: that it arises from cognitive ability (Greco 2010; Sosa 2007, 2009). Pritchard calls his new view anti-luck virtue epistemology (ALVE). A key premise in Pritchard’s argument for ALVE is what I call the independence thesis; the thesis that satisfying neither the anti-luck condition nor the ability condition entails that the other is satisfied. Pritchard’s argument for the independence thesis relies crucially upon the case he makes for thinking that cognitive achievements are compatible with knowledge-undermining environmental luck—that is, the sort of luck widely thought to undermine knowledge in standard barn facade cases. In the first part of this paper, I outline the key steps in Pritchard’s argument for anti-luck virtue epistemology and highlight how it is that the compatibility of cognitive achievement and knowledge- undermining environmental luck is indispensible to the argument’s success. The second part of this paper aims to show that this compatibility premise crucial to Pritchard’s argument is incorrect. (shrink)
In Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (Cambridge University Press, 2007) Francis Beckwith argues that fetuses are such that, from conception, they are prima facie wrong to kill. He thinks abortion is almost never permissible beyond rare cases where, unless the fetus is killed, both the pregnant woman and the fetus will die. He defends his view not from religiously-justified premises but by appealing to “a particular metaphysics of the human person” that he calls “The (...) Substance View.” I will argue that such metaphysics is irrelevant to the morality of abortion. Beckwith’s metaphysics thereby neither supports, nor detracts from, his abortion ethic. Moral, not metaphysical, assumptions drive the argument, and Beckwith inadequately defends these assumptions. Indeed, they are often false, and his main argument is unsound. (130 words). (shrink)
I take issue with two claims that Duncan Pritchard makes in his recent book, Epistemic Luck. The first concerns his safety-based response to the lottery problem; the second his account of the relationship between safety and intellectual virtue.
Duncan Pritchard (2008, 2009, 2010, forthcoming) has argued for an elegant solution to what have been called the value problems for knowledge at the forefront of recent literature on epistemic value. As Pritchard sees it, these problems dissolve once it is recognized that that it is understanding-why, not knowledge, that bears the distinctive epistemic value often (mistakenly) attributed to knowledge. A key element of Pritchard’s revisionist argument is the claim that understanding-why always involves what he calls strong (...) cognitive achievement—viz., cognitive achievement that consists always in either (i) the overcoming of a significant obstacle or (ii) the exercise of a significant level of cognitive ability. After outlining Pritchard’s argument, we show (contra Pritchard) that understanding-why does not essentially involve strong cognitive achievement. Interestingly, in the cases in which understanding-why is distinctively valuable, it is (we argue) only because there is sufficiently rich objectual understanding in the background. If that’s right, then a plausible revisionist solution to the value problems must be sensitive to different kinds of understanding and what makes them valuable, respectively. (shrink)
An Essay on the Nature and Conduct of the Passions and Affections, with Illustrations on the Moral Sense (1728), jointly with Francis Hutcheson’s earlier work Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue (1725), presents one of the most original and wide-ranging moral philosophies of the eighteenth century. These two works, each comprising two semi-autonomous treatises, were widely translated and vastly influential throughout the eighteenth century in England, continental Europe, and America. -/- The two works had (...) their greatest impact in Scotland and influenced many well-known Scottish philosophers, particularly those writing after the last Jacobite upheaval, in 1745. This can be seen in the concern of the post-1745 generation with analyzing human nature as the foundation of moral theory, with the “moral sense” and moral epistemology more generally, with the impartial spectator and the calm passions, and with the independence of benevolence from self-interest. In addition to the influence of his writings, Hutcheson was also a famed teacher whose Glasgow students, notably Adam Smith, held sway over generations of Scottish moral philosophers. -/- Despite their impact on Scottish letters, the four treatises were in fact written in Dublin, and the philosophers to whom Hutcheson responded and with whom he debated were in the main not Scottish but English, Irish, French, Roman, and Greek. Consequently, part of Hutcheson’s legacy was a cosmopolitan outlook among enlightened Scots, who learned to turn their eyes far from home. (shrink)
In Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (2007) and an earlier article in this journal, "Defending Abortion Philosophically"(2006), Francis Beckwith argues that fetuses are, from conception, prima facie wrong to kill. His arguments are based on what he calls a "metaphysics of the human person" known as "The Substance View." I argue that Beckwith’s metaphysics does not support his abortion ethic: Moral, not metaphysical, claims that are part of this Substance View are the foundation of (...) the argument, and Beckwith inadequately defends these moral claims. Thus, Beckwith’s arguments do not provide strong support for what he calls the "pro-life" view of abortion. (shrink)
Francis Bacon (15611626) wrote that good scientists are not like ants (mindlessly gathering data) or spiders (spinning empty theories). Instead, they are like bees, transforming nature into a nourishing product. This essay examines Bacon's "middle way" by elucidating the means he proposes to turn experience and insight into understanding. The human intellect relies on "machines" to extend perceptual limits, check impulsive imaginations, and reveal nature's latent causal structure, or "forms." This constructivist interpretation is not intended to supplant inductivist or (...) experimentalist interpretations, but is designed to explicate Bacon's account of science as a collaborative project with several interdependent methodological goals. (shrink)
An epistemological how-possible question asks how knowledge, or knowledge of some specific kind, is possible. The main contention of Duncan Pritchard‟s stimulating comments is that what I call „explanatory minimalism‟ appears to offer us just what we are seeking when we ask such a question. This looks like a problem for me given that I defend a version of explanatory anti-minimalism. Pritchard outlines a version of minimalism inspired by the writings of John McDowell and does not find it (...) obvious that this position is lacking in any relevant respect. Nor do I. My minimalism is moderate rather than extreme but Pritchard‟s objections to anti-minimalism are objections to extreme anti-minimalism. Indeed, his comments do not seem to me to have any direct bearing on what I take to be the fundamental disagreement between minimalism and anti-minimalism. (shrink)
Like all theories that account for moral motivation, Francis Hutcheson's moral sense theory faces two related challenges. The skeptical challenge calls into question what reasons an agent has to be moral at all. The priority challenge asks why an agent's reasons to be moral tend to outweigh her non-moral reasons to act. I argue a defender of Hutcheson can respond to these challenges by building on unique features of his account. She can respond to skeptical challenge by drawing a (...) direct parallel between an agent's reasons to pursue natural, self-directed goods and her reasons to pursue moral goods. This parallel, however, makes establishing the significance of morality difficult. Given this difficulty, a separate aspect of Hutcheson's account, the additional weight given to benevolence in our assessment of mixed actions, can be used to respond to the priority challenge. (shrink)
This is the first modern book to describe Francis Bacon's jurisprudence. He has long been famous as a scientist, philosopher, politician and literary giant, but his career as one of England's greatest lawyers and jurists has been largely overlooked. Bacon's major contribution to Anglo-American jurisprudence is presented in such a way as to be suitable to specialists and non-specialists alike. The purpose is to restore Bacon to his rightful place as England's first true critical and analytical jurist, and to (...) describe how his legal thought related to his other great intellectual achievements. (shrink)
This paper argues that the founding fathers of the tradition of Scottish Enlightenment natural jurisprudence, Gersholm Carmichael (1672–1729) and Francis Hutcheson (1694–1746), articulated a view of rights that is pertinent to the contemporary dominance of the language of rights. Maintaining a metaphysical foundation for rights while drawing upon the early-modern Protestant natural law tradition, their conception of rights is more significantly indebted to the pre-modern scholastic natural law tradition than often realized. This is illustrated by exploring some of the (...) background to their respective theories of rights, detailing the precise reasoning that Carmichael and Hutcheson brought to bear upon their conception of rights, and then exploring their application of their understanding of rights to the question of property. (shrink)
Breaking with a Puritan past -- A mother's concern -- Turmoil and diversity in the English Reformation -- The influences and the options available in English -- Reformation theology -- Intellectual trends : patristics and hebrew -- Millennialism and the belief in a providential age -- Bacon's break with the godly -- Bacon's turn toward the ancient faith -- The formative years -- Bacon and Andrewes -- The Meditationes sacrae and Bacon's turn away from calvinism -- Bacon's confession of faith (...) -- In the beginning : the creation of nature and the nature of the fall the instauration as an event in sacred history -- The ages of the world and the chain of causes -- Creation as a pattern for human learning -- Humanity in the garden -- Knowledge and the fall -- Knowledge as a support for the faith -- Human effort as the key to recovery -- On the way of salvation : Bacon's twofold via salutis -- Bbacon and original sin -- Patterns in divine action and prophecies of instauration -- The instauration in the history of providence -- Bacon's providential age -- The conditions for instauration -- In the autumn of the world : features of the age of instauration -- Irenaeus and Francis Bacon on the golden age -- Inaugurated eschatology in Bacon's instauration -- Laborers in the fields of instauration : orders and offices -- Rebuilding the temple of nature -- Human agency and the instauration -- The problem of confusing the two books -- The possibility of immortality -- Bacon's circle and his legacy -- Bacon's literary circle -- Tobie Matthew (1577-1655) -- William Rawley (1588-1667) -- Henry Wotton (15681639) -- Thomas Bushell (1594-1674) -- John Selden (1584-1654) -- George Herbert (1593-1633) -- Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) -- Thomas Bodley (1545-1613) -- Conclusions regarding Bacon's literary circle -- The reform of learning in the Civil War and the commonwealth the restoration and the Royal Society -- The Enlightenment transformation of Bacon's memory. (shrink)
Francis of Marchia dealt at length in several different contexts with the nature of the will and willing. Here I examine just one of those discussions: the possibility for the will to go against reason's final judgment, a topic related to weakness of will and the source of sin. Marchia is clearly of a voluntaristic bent, holding that the will can indeed act against the determination of reason. After examining Marchia's argumentation for his position, I explore some of the (...) background to Marchia's view in a distinctively later medieval understanding of the human mind as a system of internal acts and dispositions, with the possibility that several of them belong to the same faculty simultaneously. This increasingly complex conceptualisation of the mind mirrors a new, more complex conceptualization of the "Self". (shrink)
Logical relativism is the view that a logical proposition is known just in case it is collectively endorsed in some culture. This striking and controversial view is defended by David Bloor and Richard C. Jennings. They cite in its support distinctive reasoning practices among the Azande as described by E. E. Evans-Pitchard. Jennings has challenged my critique of Bloor's logical relativism, claiming that my analysis is based on misunderstandings of Bloor and Evans-Pritchard. I argue that Jennings' clarifications of Bloor (...) do nothing to support the thesis of logical relativism, and that a direct examination of Evans-Pritchard's evidence suggests that the Azande reason just as we do. (shrink)
: Despite the historical importance of Francis Bacon's grand vision of science, the doctrine of Form that supports his program of works is now generally agreed to be incoherent. This paper will argue, however, that Bacon's belief in the convertibility of matter gains a previously unacknowledged coherence when approached through the treatment of axiom conversion expressed in Ramus' 1574 Dialectica. Ultimately this will lead to the conclusion that Bacon did not--like most twentieth-century philosophers--see the universe as a collection of (...) matter understood by humans in terms of law, but as a collection of laws understood in terms of matter. (shrink)
This ambitious and important book provides the first truly general account of Francis Bacon as a philosopher. It describes how Bacon transformed the values that had underpinned philosophical culture since antiquity by rejecting the traditional idea of a philosopher as someone engaged in contemplation of the cosmos. The book explores in detail how and why Bacon attempted to transform the largely esoteric discipline of natural philosophy into a public practice through a program in which practical science provided a model (...) that inspired many from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries. Stephen Gaukroger shows that this reform of natural philosophy was dependent on the creation of a new philosophical persona: a natural philosopher shaped through submission to the dictates of Baconian method. This book will be recognized as a major contribution to Baconian scholarship, of special interest to historians of early-modern philosophy, science, and ideas. (shrink)
Elsewhere I have argued that the most significant threat to scientific realism arises from what I call the problem of unconceived alternatives: the repeated failure of past scientists and scientific communities to even conceive of alternatives to extant scientific theories, even when such alternatives were both (1) well-confirmed by the evidence available at the time and (2) sufficiently scientifically serious as to be actually embraced in the course of further investigation. In this paper I explore Francis Galton’s development and (...) defense of his “stirp” theory of inheritance and conclude that this particular historical example offers impressive support for the challenge posed by the problem of unconceived alternatives while simultaneously showing how we can make that challenge deeper and sharper. (shrink)
This paper attempts to provide a general reconstruction of Francis of Marchia's doctrine of accidental being. The paper is divided into two parts. (1) In the first part, I begin by reconstructing the debate on the nature of accidents held before Marchia, showing that such a debate is characterised by a progressive shift concerning the way to understand accidents. While the first Aristotelian interpreters regard accidents especially as inhering modes of being of substances, the majority of theologians and philosophers (...) in the second half of the thirteenth century regard accidents as absolute beings. For them, the problem is no longer to explain if and, if so, how accidents can be distinct from substances, but how accidents and substances can make some one thing. Metaphysically, their primary focus is on explaining what the ontological status of inherence is. Although it is especially the consideration of the Eucharistic case that induces this change, I point out that many philosophers and theologians find in Aristotle's texts the philosophical support for taking this step. (2) In the second part, I focus more closely on Marchia's doctrine, arguing that Marchia's position is a slightly revised version of Scotus's. Unlike Aquinas and Bonaventure, Marchia explains Aristotle's metaphysics of accidents by way of the metaphysics of the Eucharist and not vice versa. So, in order to explain the philosophical consistency of this miraculous case, Marchia maintains that one does not need to modify the notion of inherence by distinguishing actual from potential inherence and including the latter in the accident's essence; rather it is necessary to take the case of the Eucharist seriously and, on this basis, to remove inherence totally from an accident's essence. In conclusion, the Eucharist shows that accidents are absolute beings to which actual inherence pertains contingently, potential inherence necessarily. But like Scotus's, Marchia's doctrine faces some difficulties that remain unresolved. (shrink)
The program of intervening, manipulating, constructing and creating is central to natural and engineering sciences. A renewed wave of interest in this program has emerged within the recent practices and discourse of nano-technoscience. However, it is striking that, framed from the perspective of well-established epistemologies, the constructed technoscientific objects and engineered things remain invisible. Their ontological and epistemological status is unclear. The purpose of the present paper is to support present-day approaches to techno-objects ( ontology ) insofar as they make (...) these hidden objects epistemologically perceivable. To accomplish this goal, it is inspiring to look back to the origin of the project of modernity and to its founding father: Francis Bacon. The thesis is that everything we need today for an adequate (dialectic-materialist), ontologically well-informed epistemology of technoscience can be found in the works of Bacon—this position will be called epistemological real-constructivism. Rather than describing it as realist or constructivist, empiricist or rationalist, Bacon’s position can best be understood as real-constructivist since it challenges modern dichotomies, including the dichotomy between epistemology and ontology. Such real-constructive turn might serve to promote the acknowledgement that natural and engineering sciences, in particular recent technosciences, are creating and producing the world we live in. Reflection upon the contemporary relevance of Bacon is intended as a contribution to the expanding and critical discussion on nano-technoscience. (shrink)
Brian Wormald provides a fundamental reappraisal of one of the most complex and innovative figures of the late-Elizabethan and Jacobean age. In the centuries since his death, Francis Bacon (1561-1626) has been perceived and studied as a promoter and prophet of the philosophy of science--natural science--but he saw himself also as a clarifier and promoter of what he called "policy" or the study and improvement of the structure and function of civil states. Mr. Wormald shows that Bacon was concerned (...) equally with the knowledge of the world of nature and with that of policy. The junction between the two enterprises was effected by his work in history; and in the end it was Bacon's conception and practice of history that provided the answer to his efforts to advance policy and natural philosophy. (shrink)
Zusammenfassung WÃ¤hrend âLogik der Forschung als Wissenschaftstheorie sich lÃ¤ngst etabliert hat, steht eine ebenso notwendige âEthik der Forschung als Wissenschaftsmoral noch aus. Dazu liefert die kritische Auseinandersetzung mit Francis Bacon wichtige Bausteine: Allgemeines Menschheitswohl als letztes Ziel aller Forschung; Betonung des unabhÃ¤ngigen Selbstdenkens; Forschertugenden wie Wahrhaftigkeit, Hoffnung, Demut, Menschenliebe; Anerkennung von sittlichen Grenzen des Wissens. Hingegen ist zugunsten einer engagierten Eigenverantwortlichkeit der Wissenschaftler vor Bacons UnterwÃ¼rfigkeit gegenÃ¼ber der Staatsgewalt zu warnen.
It is well known that Francis of Marchia and William of Ockham joined Michael of Cesena's rebellion against the pope, together escaping from Avignon and signing documents supporting Cesena's defence of Franciscan poverty. The relationship between the works of the two thinkers, on the other hand, is the subject of ongoing investigation. After discussing Francis' rejection in his Commentary on the Sentences of Ockham's theory of quantity, this paper shows how Francis' Improbatio became a source for Ockham's (...) Opus Nonaginta Dierum. Building on Offler's ground-breaking critical edition of the latter work, it is argued that Ockham made extensive use of Francis' Improbatio, even though on several points he felt it necessary to reformulate the arguments of his confrère or even to substantially modify his positions. The two Franciscan theologians differed deeply both in their basic philosophical commitments and in their methodological attitude. These differences emerged even when they were—so to speak—fighting on the same front. (shrink)
Francis Allen, The Borderland of Criminal Justice: Essays in Law and Criminology Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1964 Francis Allen, The Crimes of Politics: Political Dimensions of Criminal Justice Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974 Francis Allen, Law, Intellect, and Education Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1979 Francis Allen, The Decline of the Rehabilitative Ideal: Penal Policy and Social Purpose New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.
In this paper, I raise some questions about Pritchard’s (2005) internalist argument for scepticism. I argue that his internalism begs the question in support of scepticism. Correlatively I advance what I take to be a better internalist argument for scepticism, one that leaves open the possibility of empirically adjudicating sceptical hypotheses. I close by discussing what it means to be an internalist.
The biocentric outlook on nature affirms our fellowship with other living creatures and portrays human beings as members of the Earth’s community who have equal moral standing with other living members of the community. A comparison of Paul Taylor’s biocentric theory of environmental ethics and the life and writings of St. Francis of Assisi reveals that Francis maintained a biocentric environmental ethic. This individualistc environmental ethic is grounded in biology and is unaffected by the paradigm shift in ecology (...) in which nature is regarded as in flux rather than tending toward equilibrium. A holistic environmental ethic that accords moral standing to holistic entities (species, ecosytems, biotic communities) is more vulnerable to these changes in ecology than an environmental ethic that accords moral standing to individuals. Another strength of biocentrism is its potential to provide a unified front across religious and scientific lines. (shrink)
The safety analysis of knowledge, due to Duncan Pritchard, has it that for all contingent propositions, p, S knows that p iff S believes that p, p is true, and (the “safety principle”) in most nearby worlds in which S forms his belief in the same way as in the actual world, S believes that p only if p is true. Among the other virtues claimed by Pritchard for this view is its supposed ability to solve a version (...) of the lottery puzzle. In this paper, I argue that the safety analysis of knowledge in fact fails to solve the lottery puzzle. I also argue that a revised version of the safety principle recently put forward by Pritchard fares no better. (shrink)
This article offers the first critical edition of the most important version of Francis of Marchia's famous question 1 of his commentary on Book IV of the Sentences, in which the Franciscan theologian puts forth his virtus derelicta theory of projectile motion. The introduction attempts to place Marchia's theory in its proper context. The theory might seem to us an obvious improvement on Aristotle, but rather than an immediate and complete break with tradition that all scholastics quickly adopted, (...) Marchia's virtus derelicta was more a stage in a gradual process that had begun many decades before and did not find universal acceptance among his first successors. Moreover, Marchia himself did not take the theory to what might seem the obvious conclusion that Jean Buridan would draw, because Marchia employed the virtus derelicta to explain more phenomena than just projectile motion. (shrink)
This article takes as its point of departure the conviction that late medieval science should be studied in its own right, and not merely to determine whether it presaged developments in early modern science. Case in point: Francis of Marchia's theory of virtus derelicta, the theory that the motion of a projectile through the air is due to a force left behind by the original motive force. Certainly, Marchia's view is not a forerunner of inertia. Nevertheless, it is argued (...) that virtus derelicta breaks with two important Aristotelian principles of motion: "everything that has a beginning must necessarily also have an end" and "form is always indivisible." Thus, virtus derelicta is neither an Aristotelian solution to the problem of projectile motion nor a development on the road to early modern science; it belongs to a new (but subsequently undeveloped) understanding of motion. (shrink)
Francis of Marchia (c. 1290-1344) is said to have challenged Aristotelian orthodoxy by uniting the celestial and terrestrial realms in a way that has important implications for the practice of natural philosophy. But this over-looks Marchia's vital distinction between bare potentiality, which is actualizable only by God, and natural potency, which is the concern of the natural philosopher. If due attention is paid to this distinction and to its implications, Marchia's position no longer seems to be revolutionary.
One of the most exciting monuments in Candia, located on the island of Crete, was the Saint Francis Monastery. The church and monastery were situated on a natural hill, next to the city’s defensive walls on the east side. The elevated position of the buildings attracted the views of many inhabitants and voyagers.2 It was a medieval tradition to position the church at the apex of a hill with the monastery below it.3 The first one to study this monastery (...) thoroughly was the Italian archaeologist Giuseppe Gerola (1877–1938). In the present day an attempt is being made to collect all available information about the monastery. Almost nothing of worth is known about the establishment of the monastery. Gerola .. (shrink)
Scholars have recently noted the interest of Guibert of Tournai’s sermons on Francis of Assisi. Nicole Bériou partially edited Guibert’s sermon Surrexit Helyas, focusing on the theme of prophecy, in 1994,1 and Sean Field edited two more, Inflammatum est cor meum and Veni columba mea, highlighting the theme of Francis as a perfected soul through annihilation, in 1999.2 The two yet unexamined works in Guibert’s corpus of sermons discussing Francis hold their own interest, as they discuss an (...) important topos in Franciscan literature of the mid-thirteenth century. The present article edits and analyzes these two previously unedited sermons for the first time.3 This topos is the Biblical quotation Vidi .. (shrink)
Francis’ view of nature has been seen as positive in an ecological sense even by those who are for the most part critical of Christianity’s attitude to nature, such as Lynn White, Jr. I argue that one element of Francis’ uniqueness was that he saw the diversity of life as an expression of God’s creativity and benevolence and attempted to carry out that vision in ethical behavior. Much of what has been written about him has precedents in traditional (...) hagiography, but there remains an unmistakable impression of originality. It has been noted that Francis insisted on the goodness of creation, used terms of family relationship to refer to creatures other than human, and preached to them. However, another element has escaped notice: his emphasis on the presence of God in the diversity of created entities and his desire that humans should rejoice in this diversity and glorify God for it and with it. His devotion did not immediately dissolve multiplicity into oneness, but glorified God in each created being and delighted in their individuality. He advocated that praise be expressed by acting in ways consistent with respect for created diversity, not only by observing a strict rule of abstaining from harm to living beings, but also in positive treatment of all creatures. Nature took its meaning not from its serviceability to mankind, but from its expression of the multiple forms of God’s benevolent presence. (shrink)
This volume belongs to the critical edition of the complete works of Francis Bacon (1561-1626), an edition that presents the works in broadly chronological order and in accordance with the principles of modern textual scholarship. This volume contains critical editions of five varied works Bacon composed during the 1620s. The most significant and substantial of these five works is his biography of Henry VII (The historie of the raigne of King Henry the seventh) but the volume testifies as well (...) to Bacon's continuing robust allegiance to his youthful vaunt that all knowledge was his province, for it also includes his sketch for a biography of Henry VIII, An advertisement touching an holy war (a thoughtful debate over the prospect of holy war in his own time), Apophthegmes (a lively collection of witty anecdotes, classical to early modern), and his select verse translations from the psalms. In each case an authoritative text has been established based upon fresh collation of the relevant manuscripts and of multiple copies of the seventeenth editions, and subjected to a thorough bibliographical analysis of the treatment of Bacon's texts in the early modern printing-house. The Introductions discuss the occasion and context for each work, evaluate his creative transmutation of his sources, and weigh their contemporary reception. A comprehensive commentary identifies and parses Bacon's use of source material, from his refinement of published literary and historical sources and contemporary MSS to the political white papers composed while he served as counsellor to King James. An extensive glossary is integrated into this commentary. An Appendix provides full bibliographical descriptions of all of the textual witnesses, manuscript and printed edition. (shrink)
Duncan Pritchard’s book (Epistemic Luck, Oxford University Press, 2005) concerns the interplay between two disturbing kinds of epistemic luck, termed “reflective” and “veritic,” and two types of arguments for skepticism, one based on a closure principle for knowledge and the other on an underdetermination thesis about the quality of our evidence for the everyday propositions we believe. Pritchard defends the view that a safety-based account of knowledge can answer the closure argument and provide an account of how veritic (...) epistemic luck is eliminated. He also argues that reflective epistemic luck cannot be eliminated, and that even though it is the sort of luck with which the underdetermination argument is concerned, the fact that this type of luck cannot be eliminated doesn’t undermine knowledge. Instead, it undermines the assertibility of our knowledge, at least in skeptical contexts. So when the skeptic challenges the idea that we know using the underdetermination principle, we have no legitimate response to offer, and it is this fundamental fact of epistemic life that Pritchard terms our inevitable epistemic angst. (shrink)
Why was it that Francis Bacon, trained for high political office, devoted himself to proposing a celebrated and sweeping reform of the natural sciences? Julian Martin's investigative study looks at Bacon's family context, his employment in Queen Elizabeth's security service and his radical critique of the relationship between the Common Law and the Monarchy, to find the key to this important question. Deeply conservative and elitist in his political views, Bacon adapted Tudor strategies of State management and bureaucracy, the (...) social anxieties and prejudices of the late-Elizabethan governing elite, and a principal intellectual resource of the English governing classes - the Common Law - into a novel vision and method for the sciences. Bacon's axiom that 'Knowledge is Power' takes on far-reaching implications in Martin's challenging argument that the reform of natural philosophy was a central part of an audacious plan to strengthen the powers of the Crown in the State. (shrink)
This work provides an original account of Francis Bacon's conception of natural inquiry. P'erez-Ramos sets Bacon in an epistemological tradition that postulates an intimate relation between objects of cognition and objects of construction, and regards the human knower as, fundamentally, a maker. By exploring the background to this tradition, and contrasting the responses of major philosophers of the 17th century with Bacon's own, the book charts Bacon's contribution to the modern philosophy of science.
Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was a genuine midwife of modernity. He was one of the first thinkers to visualise a future which would be guided by a cooperative science-based vision of bettering human welfare. In this the first critical edition of his greatest philosophical work since the nineteenth-century, we find facing-page Latin translations and a thorough and detailed Introduction to the text.
Volume XI of The Oxford Francis Bacon comprises the first new critical edition of Bacon's most important philosophical work, the Novum Organum, for a hundred years. One of the foundation documents of early-modern philosophy, Novum Organum is edited in accordance with modern textual-critical principles for the first time. Graham Rees presents the only edition ever to include the original Latin text with a brand new, facing-page translation, and a thorough Introduction and detailed commentary of the text. The edition represents (...) a major step towards the reinstatement of Bacon as a central figure in the history of early-modern philosophy, and will be essential reading for anyone studying the history of science and ideas in the seventeenth-century. (shrink)
Many contemporary epistemologists hold that a subject S’s true belief that p counts as knowledge only if S’s belief that p is also, in some important sense, safe. I describe accounts of this safety condition from John Hawthorne, Duncan Pritchard, and Ernest Sosa. There have been three counterexamples to safety proposed in the recent literature, from Comesaña, Neta and Rohrbaugh, and Kelp. I explain why all three proposals fail: each moves fallaciously from the fact that S was at epistemic (...) risk just before forming her belief to the conclusion that S’s belief was formed unsafely. In light of lessons from their failure, I provide a new and successful counterexample to the safety condition on knowledge. It follows, then, that knowledge need not be safe. Safety at a time depends counterfactually on what would likely happen at that time or soon after in a way that knowledge does not. I close by considering one objection concerning higher-order safety. (shrink)