Questions about truth and questions about reality are intimately connected. One can ask whether reality includes numbers by asking ‘Are there numbers?’ But one can also ask what (arguably) amounts to the very same question by asking ‘Is the sentence “There are numbers” true?’ Such ‘semantic ascent’ makes it seem that the nature of reality can be investigated by investigating our true sentences. This line of thought was very much taken for granted in twentieth century philosophy, but it is now (...) beginning to be called into question. Just how much can we learn about the nature of reality by investigating our true sentences? Does, for example, the truth of ‘There is a prime number between ten and twenty’ mean that prime numbers exist? Does the truth of ‘Eating people is wrong’ mean that moral properties exist? Does the truth of 'Spiders give me the creeps' mean that the creeps exists? In From Truth to Reality, Heather Dyke brings together some of the foremost metaphysicians to examine approaches to truth, reality, and the connections between the two. This collection features new and previously unpublished material by JC Beall, Mark Colyvan, Michael Devitt, John Heil, Frank Jackson, Fred Kroon, D. H. Mellor, Luca Moretti, Alan Musgrave, Robert Nola, J. J. C. Smart, Paul Snowdon, and Daniel Stoljar. (shrink)
The general public and environmental policy makers often perceive management actions of environmental managers as science, when such actions are, in fact, value judgments about when to intervene in natural processes. The choice of action requires ethical as well as scientific analysis because managers must choose a normative outcome to direct their intervention. I examine a management case study involving prescribed burning of sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) communities in south-central Montana (USA) to illustrate how to teach students to ethically evaluate a (...) management action by precisely identifying: 1) the proposed management action, 2) the deficiency of the system to be remedied by the action, 3) the stakeholders affected by the action, and 4) the category and type of values affirmed in the management action. Through such analysis, students are taught to recognize implicit and explicit value judgments associated with management actions, identify stakeholders to whom managers have legitimate ethical obligations, and practice a general method of ethical analysis applicable to many forms of environmental management. (shrink)
In this refreshingly original and accessible investigation into the nature of metaphysics, Heather Dyke argues that for too long philosophy has suffered from a language fixation. Where this language fixation leads philosophers to reason badly, she calls it the ‘‘representational fallacy’’. She illustrates the various ways it can lead philosophers astray and argues that metaphysics can be better done without it. She discusses the philosophy of time as an illustration of how a metaphysical debate about the nature of time (...) was needlessly transformed into a sterile debate about language and of how, once the focus on language is dropped, a new metaphysical strategy emer- ges. Dyke shows how the same applies to other debates in metaphysics and how this promises fruitful new research programmes, where the focus is on ontology rather than on language. The clear and accessible way in which current practice in metaphysics is brought under the spotlight will challenge philosophers to examine their own methodology. (shrink)
If, as the new tenseless theory of time maintains, there are no tensed facts, then why do our emotional lives seem to suggest that there are? This question originates with Prior’s ‘Thank Goodness That’s Over’ problem, and still presents a significant challenge to the new B-theory of time. We argue that this challenge has more dimensions to it than has been appreciated by those involved in the debate so far. We present an analysis of the challenge, showing the different questions (...) that a B-theorist must answer in order to meet it. The debate has focused on the question of what is the object of my relief when an unpleasant experience is past. We outline the prevailing response to this question. The additional, and neglected, questions are, firstly—‘Why does the same event elicit different emotional responses from us depending on whether it is in the past, present, or future?’ And secondly—‘Why do we care more about proximate future pain than about distant future pain?’ We give B-theory answers to these questions, which appeal to evolutionary considerations. (shrink)
McTaggart famously argued that time is unreal. Today, almost no one agrees with his conclusion. But his argument remains the locus classicus for both the A-theory and the B-theory of time. I show how McTaggart’s argument provided the impetus for both of these opposing views of the nature of time. I also present and defend what I take to be the correct view of the nature of time.
In response to a recent challenge that the New B-theory of Time argues invalidly from the claim that tensed sentences have tenseless truth conditions to the conclusion that temporal reality is tenseless, I argue that while early B-theorists may have relied on some such inference, New B-theorists do not. Giving tenseless truth conditions for tensed sentences is not intended to prove that temporal reality is tenseless. Rather, it is intended to undermine the A-theorist’s move from claims about the irreducibility of (...) tensed language to the conclusion that temporal reality must be tensed. I then examine how A-theorists have used facts about language in attempting to establish their conclusions about the nature of temporal reality. I take the recent work of William Lane Craig and argue that he implicitly and illicitly moves from facts about temporal language to his conclusion that temporal reality is tensed. (shrink)
The debate about the reality of tense descends from an argument of McTaggart's,whichwas designed to prove the unreality of time.The argument has two constituent theses: firstly that time is intrinsically tensed, and secondly, that the notion of tense is inherently self-contradictory. If both of these theses are true, it follows that time does not exist. The debate that has emerged from this argument centres around the truth or falsity of each of these theses. A-theorists accept the first and reject the (...) second thesis, drawing the conclusion that, since there is no contradiction in the notion of tense, time exists and is intrinsically tensed. B-theorists accept the second and reject the first thesis, concluding that the notion of tense is inherently self-contradictory, but since time is not intrinsically tensed, time exists and is tenseless. I think the argument against tense is sound, but time is not intrinsically tensed, so time exists and is tenseless. However, this argument, which has come to be known as McTaggart's paradox, is obscure, which has tended to blunt its force. In this paper I recast McTaggart's paradox in my own terms. The notion of tense has two components: an observer-independent distinction between past, present and future, and a flow of time. Totake tense seriously is to suppose that these two features of tense are also features of time. I argue that they are inherently incompatible with each other, generating a contradiction at the heart of the notion of tense, thus proving that tense is unreal. The contradiction arises no matter how one construes the notion of tense, and I illustrate this by revealing essentially the same contradiction in a number of different accounts of tensed time. (shrink)
Ignoring the temporal dimension, an object such as a railway tunnel or a human body is a three-dimensional whole composed of three-dimensional parts. The four-dimensionalist holds that a physical object exhibiting identity across time—Descartes, for example—is a four-dimensional whole composed of 'briefer' four-dimensional objects, its temporal parts. Peter van Inwagen (1990) has argued that four-dimensionalism cannot be sustained, or at best can be sustained only by a counterpart theorist. We argue that different schemes of individuation of temporal parts are available, (...) which undermines van Inwagen's argument. (shrink)
Recognition that biological systems are stabilized far from equilibrium by self-organizing, informed, autocatalytic cycles and structures that dissipate unusable energy and matter has led to recent attempts to reformulate evolutionary theory. We hold that such insights are consistent with the broad development of the Darwinian Tradition and with the concept of natural selection. Biological systems are selected that re not only more efficient than competitors but also enhance the integrity of the web of energetic relations in which they are embedded. (...) But the expansion of the informational phase space, upon which selection acts, is also guaranteed by the properties of open informational-energetic systems. This provides a directionality and irreversibility to evolutionary processes that are not reflected in current theory.For this thermodynamically-based program to progress, we believe that biological information should not be treated in isolation from energy flows, and that the ecological perspective must be given descriptive and explanatory primacy. Levels of the ecological hierarchy are relational parts of ecological systems in which there are stable, informed patterns of energy flow and entropic dissipation. Isomorphies between developmental patterns and ecological succession are revealing because they suggest that much of the encoded metabolic information in biological systems is internalized ecological information. The geneological hierarchy, to the extent that its information content reflects internalized ecological information, can therefore be redescribed as an ecological hierarchy. (shrink)
There is a common approach to metaphysical disputes, which takes language as its starting point, and leads to a view about the range of acceptable metaphysical positions in any such dispute. I argue that this approach rests on accepting what I call the Strong Linguistic Thesis (SLT). In the metaphysical debate about time I argue that the new B-theory has rejected SLT, and for good reasons. The metaphysical debate about modality parallels the early metaphysical debate about time. I argue that (...) a position analogous to the new B-theory of time is available in the modal debate, and has some advantages over its rivals. (shrink)
If, as the new B-theory of time maintains, tensed sentences have tenseness truth conditions, it follows that it is possible for two sentence-tokens to have the same truth conditions but different meanings. This conclusion forces a rethink of the traditional identification of truth-conditions with meaning. There is an aspect of the meanings of tensed sentences that is not captured by their truth conditions, and that has so far eluded explanation. In this paper I intend to locate, examine, and explain this (...) feature of tensed meaning. (shrink)
There are two extant versions of the new tenseless theory of time: the date versionand the token-reflexive version. I ask whether they are equivalent, and if not, whichof them is to be preferred. I argue that they are not equivalent, that the date version isunsatisfactory, and that the token-reflexive version is correct. I defend the token-reflexive version against a string of objections from Quentin Smith. My defence involves a discussion of the ontological and semantic significance of truth conditions, and of (...) the connection between truth and reality on the one hand, and that between truth and meaning on the other. I argue that Smith''s objections to the token-reflexive theory stem from his confusing these two aspects of the notion of truth. (shrink)
Reply to Alex Byrne and Fred Dretske Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-9 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9814-2 Authors Christopher S. Hill, Department of Philosophy, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
The case of Fred Hoyle’s prediction of a resonance state in carbon-12, unknown in 1953 when it was predicted, is often mentioned as an example of anthropic prediction. An investigation of the historical circumstances of the prediction and its subsequent experimental confirmation shows that Hoyle and his contemporaries did not associate the level in the carbon nucleus with life at all. Only in the 1980s, after the emergence of the anthropic principle, did it become common to see Hoyle’s prediction (...) as anthropically significant. At about the same time mythical accounts of the prediction and its history began to abound. Not only has the anthropic myth no basis in historical fact, it is also doubtful if the excited levels in carbon-12 and other atomic nuclei can be used as an argument for the predictive power of the anthropic principle, such as has been done by several physicists and philosophers. (shrink)
Fred Dretske asserts that the conscious or phenomenal experiences associated with our perceptual states—e.g. the qualitative or subjective features involved in visual or auditory states—are identical to properties that things have according to our representations of them. This is Dretske's version of the currently popular representational theory of consciousness . After explicating the core of Dretske's representational thesis, I offer two criticisms. I suggest that Dretske's view fails to apply to a broad range of mental phenomena that have rather (...) distinctive subjective or qualitative features. I also suggest that Dretske's view, in identifying conscious experiences with features of our perceptual states, casts its aim too low. It deflates further than it should and, in consequence, fails to capture what are arguably some of the most important phenomena associated with our conscious lives. (shrink)
We argue that Maclaurin and Dyke's recent critique of non-naturalistic metaphysics suffers from difficulties analogous to those that caused trouble for earlier positivist critiques of metaphysics. Maclaurin and Dyke say that a theory is naturalistic iff it has observable consequences. Depending on the details of this criterion, either no theory counts as naturalistic or every theory does.
Fred Dallmayr: Integral Pluralism: Beyond Culture Wars Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-8 DOI 10.1007/s10746-011-9190-0 Authors Megan Altman, Department of Philosophy, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA Journal Human Studies Online ISSN 1572-851X Print ISSN 0163-8548.
The general public and environmental policy makers often perceive management actions of environmental managers as “science,” when such actions are, in fact, value judgments about when to intervene in natural processes. The choice of action requires ethical as well as scientific analysis because managers must choose a normative outcome to direct their intervention. I examine a management case study involving prescribed burning of sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) communities in south-central Montana (USA) to illustrate how to teach students to ethically evaluate a (...) management action by precisely identifying: 1) the proposed management action, 2) the deficiency of the system to be remedied by the action, 3) the stakeholders affected by the action, and 4) the category and type of values affirmed in the management action. Through such analysis, students are taught to recognize implicit and explicit value judgments associated with management actions, identify stakeholders to whom managers have legitimate ethical obligations, and practice a general method of ethical analysis applicable to many forms of environmental management. (shrink)
In 1994, Joyce Trebilcot retired from teaching at Washington University in St. Louis, where she had founded the Women's Studies Program and had been a member of the Philosophy Department since 1970. In the Fall of 1994 I participated on a SWIP conference panel on her book Dyke Ideas (Trebilcot 1994) conference; I used that occasion also to reminisce and place her work in the context of her life as a SWIP activist. What follows is adapted from that (...) presentation. (shrink)
Rosa Parks was arrested in 1955 for refusing to submit to Alabama law requiring racially segregated transport. Her arrest triggered the Montgomery bus boycott. Fred Gray, barely a year out of law school, represented her ? and for nearly half a century thereafter played a prominent role in almost every major civil rights case in the state. Gray?s key moral and legal commitment was grounded in opposition to segregation of every kind, based on the law in principle and the (...) US Constitution in particular. The early Gray was an idealist who advocated integration as the best means to break down segregation. The elder Gray, by contrast ? even while rejecting black?nationalist calls for separatism ? reflects an ideological shift away from untrammelled support for integration as such, to a more explicit focus on protecting the interests of the black community through the preservation of its institutions. (shrink)
"The main spine of this book stems from a comprehensive series of interviews with subjects recalling their experiences of 1930s cinemagoing. Your feel the breath of life in these spectators, a rarity in film studies, thanks to the painstaking work contracting the interview subjects and recording and tabulating their testimony."- JUMPCUT In the 1930s, Britain had the highest annual per capita cinema attendance in the world, far surpassing ballroom dancing as the nation's favorite pastime. It was, as historian A.J.P. Taylor (...) said, the "essential social habit of the age." And yet, although we know something about the demographics of British cinemagoers, we know almost nothing of their experience of film, how film affected them, how it fit into their daily lives, what role cinema played in the larger culture of the time, and in what ways cinemagoing shaped the generation that came of age in the 1930s. In Dreaming of Fred and Ginger , Annette Kuhn draws upon contemporary publications, extensive interviews with cinemagoers themselves, and readings of selected film, to produce a provocative and perspective-altering ethno-historical study. Taking cinemagoers' accounts of their own experiences as both "the engine and product of investigation," Kuhn enters imaginatively into the world of 1930s cinema culture and analyzes its place in popular memory. Among the topics she examines are the physical space of the cinemas; the role film played in growing up; the experience of being a member of a cinema audience; film-inspired fantasies of American life; the importance of cinema to adolescence in offering role models, ideals of romance, as well as practical opportunities for courtship; and the sheer pleasure of watching such film stars as Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Nelson Eddy, Ronald Colman, and many others. Engagingly written and painstakingly researched, with contributions to film history, cultural studies, and social history, Dreaming of Fred and Ginger offers an illuminating account of a key moment in British cultural memory. (shrink)
In response to a commentary by Jacquelyn N. Zita on the essay "Dyke Methods," the three principles of that work-"I speak only for myself," "I do not try to get other wimmin to accept my beliefs in place of their own," and "There is no given," are further clarified and developed.
In previous work we have defended the deprivation account of death’s badness against worries stemming from the Lucretian point that prenatal and posthumous nonexistence are deprivations of the same sort. In a recent article in this journal, Fred Feldman has offered an insightful critique of our Parfitian strategy for defending the deprivation account of death’s badness. Here we adjust, clarify, and defend our strategy for reply to Lucretian worries on behalf of the deprivation account.
So "conscious business" might mean, engaging in an occupation, work, or trade in a mindful, awake fashion. This implies, of course, that many people do not do so. In my experience, that is often the case. So I would definitely be in favor of conscious business; or conscious anything, for that matter.