Jean Piaget was one of the most salient and inspirational figures in psychological and educational research this century. He was prolific, authoring or editing over eighty books and numerous journal papers which have spawned a huge and fertile continuation of his research over the decades. A major component of any course on children's psychological development and a research tradition that is expanding, scholars need access to the original texts rather than relying on secondhand accounts. Jean Piaget: Selected Works is a (...) chance to acquire key original texts, most of which have been previously unavailable for several years. (shrink)
This paper concerns Jean Piaget's (1896–1980) philosophy of science and, in particular, the picture of scientific development suggested by his theory of geneticepistemology. The aims of the paper are threefold: (1) to examine geneticepistemology as a theory concerning the growth of knowledge both in the individual and in science; (2) to explicate Piaget's view of ‘scientific progress’, which is grounded in his theory of equilibration; and (3) to juxtapose Piaget's notion of progress with Thomas (...) Kuhn's (1922–1996). Issues of scientific continuity, scientific realism and scientific rationality are discussed. It is argued that Piaget's view highlights weaknesses in Kuhn's ‘discontinuous’ picture of scientific change. (shrink)
It is argued that fundamental to Piaget''s life works is a biologically based naturalism in which the living world is a nested complex of self-regulating, self-organising (constructing) adaptive systems. A structuralist-rationalist overlay on this core position is distinguished and it is shown how it may be excised without significant loss of content or insight. A new and richer conception of the nature of Piaget''s geneticepistemology emerges, one which enjoys rich interrelationships with evolutionary epistemology. These are explored (...) and it is shown how a regulatory systems evolutionary epistemology may be embedded within geneticepistemology. (shrink)
Geneticepistemology analyzes the growth of knowledge both in the individual person (genetic psychology) and in the socio-historical realm (the history of science). But what the relationship is between the history of science and genetic psychology remains unclear. The biogenetic law that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny is inadequate as a characterization of the relation. A critical examination of Piaget's Introduction à l'Épistémologie Généntique indicates these are several examples of what I call stage laws common to both areas. (...) Furthermore, there is at least one example of a paradoxical inverse relation between the two — geometry. Both similarities and differences between the two domains require an explanation, a developmental explanation. Although such an explanation seems to be psychological in nature, it is not merely empirical but also normative (since psychology is both factual and normative according to Piaget). Hence geneticepistemology need not be reduced to psychology (narrowly conceived), but rather should be seen as being both empirical and normative and thus similar to certain types of contemporary philosophy of science. (shrink)
The viewpoint of Evolutionary Epistemology (EE) and of GeneticEpistemology (GE) on classical epistemological questions is strikingly different: EE starts with Evolutionary Biology, the subject of which is population's dynamics. GE, however, starts with Developmental Psychology and thus focusses the development of individuals. By EE knowledge is seen as portraying or copying process, and truth is interpreted as a product of adaptation, whereas for GE knowledge is due to a construction process in which the production of true (...) insights is only one possibility among others: Like falsity, error and deception, true knowledge goes back to a free relationship to reality. The difference between scientific and common knowledge is hard to be checked by EE, since both result ultimately from human hereditary structures. The study of how scientific knowledge emerges from everyday cognition is rather the task of GE. (shrink)
Several philosophers have questioned the possibility of a geneticepistemology, an epistemology concerned with the developmental transitions between successive states of knowledge in the individual person. Since most arguments against the possibility of a geneticepistemology crucially depend upon a sharp distinction between the genesis of an idea and its justification, I argue that current philosophy of science raises serious questions about the universal validity of this distinction. Then I discuss several senses of the (...) class='Hi'>genetic fallacy, indicating which sense of ‘genesis’ is relevant to epistemology. Next I consider the objection that psychology is irrelevant to epistemology, and that since "geneticepistemology" is really psychology, "geneticepistemology" is irrelevant to a real epistemology. Finally, I take up the objection that nothing discovered in genetic psychology could be relevant to a geneticepistemology. These last two arguments are based upon what I claim to be a mistaken notion of the nature of psychology. Suitably interpreted, psychology can assist geneticepistemology precisely in the way that the history of science assists current philosonhv of science. *I owe considerable thanks to Jann Benson, Ken Freeman, Bernie Rollin and Ron Williams for their helpful discussions concerning many of the issues discussed in this paper. I also wish to thank David Hamlyn, John Heil, William Lycan, Harvey Siegel and an anonymous reviewer for their comments and suggestions. It goes without saying that none of these individuals (especially Hamlyn and Siegel) necessarily agree with me. An earlier version of this paper was read at Colorado State University where the audience's comments were beneficial. (shrink)
Although the theory of Jean Piaget is correctly characterized as geneticepistemology, its nature and scope remain unclear and controversial. An examination of Piaget's Introduction a l'epistemologie genetique indicates that Piaget relies heavily upon a model of comparative anatomy and, consequently, that geneticepistemology is about both the history of science and individual development. This biological model seems to be the basis for Piaget's view that the history of science can be seen as a (Kantian) history (...) of scientific concepts whereas psychogenetic development is a history of these very same concepts on the individual level. Finally, although there are passages indicating a different interpretation of the scope of geneticepistemology, I give several reasons for preferring the more liberal interpretation. (shrink)
Within this paper, I critique the history of the modification of the broiler chicken through selective breeding and possible future genetic modification. I utilize Margaret Atwood’s fictitious depiction of genetically engineered chickens, from her novel Oryx and Crake , in order to forward the argument that modifications that eliminate animal telos either move beyond the range of current ethical frameworks or can be ethically defended by them. I then utilize the work of feminist epistemologists to argue that understanding what (...) it means to be a chicken shapes our conceptions of what modifications are or are not acceptable. Taking into account justifications stemming from practical knowledge when making ontological claims can help to shift our understanding of what animal modifications can or cannot be justified. The paper ends by addressing three possible problems brought about by accepting such justifications. (shrink)
This paper evaluates the claim that it is possible to use nature’s variation in conjunction with retention and selection on the one hand, and the absence of ultimate groundedness of hypotheses generated by the human mind as it knows on the other hand, to discard the ascription of ultimate certainty to the rationality of human conjectures in the cognitive realm. This leads to an evaluation of the further assumption that successful hypotheses with specific applications, in other words heuristics, seem to (...) have a firm footing because they were useful in another context. I argue that usefulness evaluated through adaptation misconstrues the search for truth, and that it is possible to generate talk of randomness by neglecting aspects of a system’s insertion into a larger situation. The framing of the problem in terms of the elimination of unfit hypotheses is found to be unsatisfying. It is suggested that theories exist in a dimension where they can be kept alive rather than dying as phenotypes do. The proposal that the subconscious could suggest random variations is found to be a category mistake. A final appeal to phenomenology shows that this proposal is orphan in the history of epistemology, not in virtue of its being a remarkable find, but rather because it is ill-conceived. (shrink)
Problem: What is it that Ernst von Glasersfeld brought to mathematics education with radical constructivism? Method: Key ideas in the author’s early thinking are related to ideas that are central in constructivism, with the aim of showing their importance in math education. Results: The author’s initial thinking about constructivism began with Toulmin’s view of thinking as evolving. Ernst showed how Piaget’s geneticepistemology implied an epistemology that was not about ontology. Continuing with an analysis of the way (...) radical and trivial constructivism were received by the mathematics education community, implications of Ernst’s ideas are considered. Implications: These include the need to consider major changes in ways content is introduced to children, to consider carefully the language used to describe children’s emerging mathematical ideas, and to consider new conjectures and also how we think about the foundations of mathematics. Ultimately the value of RC is the way it reinspires belief in the possibility and importance of human growth. (shrink)
This paper contributes to an increasing literature strengthening the connection between epistemic logic and epistemology (Van Benthem, Hendricks). I give a survey of the most important applications of epistemic logic in epistemology. I show how it is used in the history of philosophy (Steiner's reconstruction of Descartes' sceptical argument), in solutions to Moore's paradox (Hintikka), in discussions about the relation between knowledge and belief (Lenzen) and in an alleged refutation of verificationism (Fitch) and I examine an early argument (...) about the (im)possibility of epistemic logic (Hocutt). Subsequently, I deal with interpretive questions about epistemic logic that, although implicitly, already appeared in the first section. I contend that a conception of epistemic logic as a theory of knowledge assertions is incoherent, and I argue that it does not make sense to adopt a normative interpretation of epistemic logic. Finally, I show ways to extend epistemic logic with other branches of philosophical logic so as to make it useful for some epistemological questions. Conditional logics and logics of public announcement are used to understand causal theories of knowledge and versions of reliabilism. Temporal logic helps understand some dynamic aspects of knowledge as well as the verificationist thesis. (shrink)
With his book The Nature of Mathematical Knowledge (1983), Ph. Kitcher, that had been doing extensive research in the history of the subject and in the contemporary debates on epistemology, saw clearly the need for a change in philosophy of mathematics. His goal was to replace the dominant, apriorist philosophy of mathematics with an empiricist philosophy. The current philosophies of mathematics all appeared, according to his analysis, not to fit well with how mathematicians actually do mathematics. A shift in (...) orientation should invoke the more general reflection that causal, genetic factors are as significant for epistemology as logical structure. As I am to a large extent sympathetic with Kitcher's proposal, my aims here will be simple: first I start presenting Kitcher's argument, and then I try to raise some doubts about his contribution. These doubts come probably from my unskilfulness to follow the torrential flow of Kitcher's ideas. (shrink)
I examine the branch of evolutionary epistemology which tries to account for the character of cognitive mechanisms in animals and humans by extending the biological theory of evolution to the neurophysiological substrates of cognition. Like Plotkin, I construe this branch as a struggling science, and attempt to characterize the sort of theory one might expect to find this truly interdisciplinary endeavor, an endeavor which encompasses not only evolutionary biology, cognitive psychology, and developmental neuroscience, but also and especially, the computational (...) modeling of artificial life programming; I suggest that extending Schaffner''s notion of interlevel theories to include both horizontal and vertical levels of abstraction best fits the theories currently being developed in cognitive science. Finally, I support this claim with examples drawn from computational modeling data using the genetic algorithm. (shrink)
: This essay examines the possible systematic bias against the disabled in the structure and practice of genetic counseling. Finding that the profession's "nondirective" imperative remains problematic, the authors recommend that methodology developed by feminist standpoint epistemology be used to incorporate the perspective of disabled individuals in genetic counselors' education and practice, thereby reforming society's view of the disabled and preventing possible negative effects of genetic counseling on the self-concept and material circumstance of disabled individuals.
We conducted five experiments that reveal some main contours of the folk epistemology of lotteries. The folk tend to think that you don't know that your lottery ticket lost, based on the long odds ("statistical cases"); by contrast, the folk tend to think that you do know that your lottery ticket lost, based on a news report ("testimonial cases"). We evaluate three previous explanations for why people deny knowledge in statistical cases: the justification account, the chance account, and the (...) statistical account. None of them seems to work. We then propose a new explanation of our own, the formulaic account, according to which some people deny knowledge in statistical cases due to formulaic expression. (shrink)
The paper begins with a clarification of the notions of intuition (and, in particular, modal intuition), modal error, conceivability, metaphysical possibility, and epistemic possibility. It is argued that two-dimensionalism is the wrong framework for modal epistemology and that a certain nonreductionist approach to the theory of concepts and propositions is required instead. Finally, there is an examination of moderate rationalism.
An overview of the epistemology of perception, covering the nature of justification, immediate justification, the relationship between the metaphysics of perceptual experience and its rational role, the rational role of attention, and cognitive penetrability. The published version will contain a smaller bibliography, due to space constraints in the volume.
According to ‘orthodox’ epistemology, it has recently been said, whether or not a true belief amounts to knowledge depends exclusively on truth-related factors: for example, on whether the true belief was formed in a reliable way, or was supported by good evidence, and so on. Jason Stanley refers to this as the ‘intellectualist’ component of orthodox epistemology, and Jeremy Fantl and Matthew McGrath describe it as orthodox epistemology’s commitment to a ‘purely epistemic’ account of knowledge — that (...) is, an account of knowledge where only truth-related factors figure in whether or not a person knows. In the first part of this paper I try to clarify the intellectualist thesis and to distinguish what I take to be its two main strains. In the remainder of the paper I then take a more critical turn and argue that even if, as a matter of fact, traditional epistemology has endorsed intellectualism in both of its strains, this is a mistake on the part of the tradition. At least one way of understanding intellectualism should be rejected and its practicalist counterpart should be accepted instead. (shrink)
This article traces a growing interest among epistemologists in the intellectuals of epistemic virtues. These are cognitive dispositions exercised in the formation of beliefs. Attempts to give intellectual virtues a central normative and/or explanatory role in epistemology occur together with renewed interest in the ethics/epistemology analogy, and in the role of intellectual virtue in Aristotle's epistemology. The central distinction drawn here is between two opposed forms of virtue epistemology, virtue reliabilism and virtue responsibilism. The article develops (...) the shared and distinctive claims made by contemporary proponents of each form, in their respective treatments of knowledge and justification. (shrink)
One thing nearly all epistemologists agree upon is that Gettier cases are decisive counterexamples to the tripartite analysis of knowledge; whatever else is true of knowledge, it is not merely belief that is both justified and true. They now agree that knowledge is not justified true belief because this is consistent with there being too much luck present in the cases, and that knowledge excludes such luck. This is to endorse what has become known as the 'anti-luck platitude'. <br /><br (...) />But what if generations of philosophers have been mistaken about this, blinded at least partially by a deeply entrenched professional bias? There has been another, albeit minority, response to Gettier: to deny that the cases are counterexamples at all. <br /><br />Stephen Hetherington, a principal and vocal proponent of this view, advances what he calls the 'Knowing Luckily Proposal'. If Hetherington is correct, this would call for a major re-evaluation and re-orientation of post-Gettier analytic epistemology, since much of it assumes the anti-luck platitude both in elucidating the concept of knowledge, and in the application of such accounts to central philosophical problems. It is therefore imperative that the Knowing Luckily Proposal be considered and evaluated in detail. <br /><br />In this paper I critically assess the Knowing Luckily Proposal. I argue that while it draws our attention to certain important features of knowledge, ultimately it fails, and the anti-luck platitude emerges unscathed. Whatever else is true of knowledge, therefore, it is non-lucky true belief. For a proposition to count as knowledge, we cannot arrive at its truth accidentally or for the wrong reason. (shrink)
Abstract Do the central aims of epistemology, like those of moral philosophy, require that we designate some important place for those concepts located between the thin-normative and the non-normative? Put another way, does epistemology need ?thick? evaluative concepts? There are inveterate traditions in analytic epistemology which, having legitimized a certain way of viewing the nature and scope of epistemology's subject matter, give this question a negative verdict; further, they have carried with them a tacit commitment to (...) what we argue to be an epistemic analogue of the reductionistic centralist thesis that Bernard Williams in our view successfully challenged in ethics. In this essay, we challenge these traditional dogmas and in doing so align ourselves with what has been recently called the ?Value Turn? in epistemology. From this perspective, we defend that, contrary to tradition, epistemology does need thick evaluative concepts. Further, the sort of theories that will be able to give thick evaluative concepts a deservedly central role in both belief and agent evaluation are those non-centralist projects that fall within what we call the second-wave of virtue epistemology. We recognize that, in breaking from centralism, there is a worry that a resulting anti-centralist theory will be reductionistic in the other direction- making the thick primary. We contend however that second-wave virtue epistemologies should be thought to provide the wave of the right thickness, and as such, constitute the most promising approaches within a field that has become increasingly more normative, diverse and expansive than was the traditional set of problems from which it emerged. (shrink)
Standard characterizations of virtue epistemology divide the field into two camps: virtue reliabilism and virtue responsibilism. Virtue reliabilists think of intellectual virtues as reliable cognitive faculties or abilities, while virtue responsibilists conceive of them as good intellectual character traits. I argue that responsibilist character virtues sometimes satisfy the conditions of a reliabilist conception of intellectual virtue, and that consequently virtue reliabilists, and reliabilists in general, must pay closer attention to matters of intellectual character. This leads to several new questions (...) and (...) challenges for any reliabilist epistemology. (shrink)
Thomas Nagel has proposed that the existence of moral luck mandates a general attitude of skepticism in ethics. One popular way of arguing against Nagels claim is to insist that the phenomenon of moral luck itself is an illusion , in the sense that situations in which it seems to occur may be plausibly re-described so as to show that agents need not be held responsible for the unlucky outcomes of their actions. Here I argue that this strategy for explaining (...) away moral luck fails because it does not take account of the fact that agents in morally unlucky circumstances are uniformly subject to a very specific type of epistemic obligation. I then proceed to sketch out an alternative strategy for blocking the inference to skepticism, one that makes use of the distinctive explanatory resources provided by epistemic virtue theory. Key Words: moral luck moral skepticism Thomas Nagel virtue epistemology Linda Zagzebski. (shrink)
This paper introduces the author's approach to everyday ascriptions of collective cognitive states as in such statements as we believe he is lying. Collective epistemology deals with these ascriptions attempting to understand them and the phenomena in question.
This paper identifies and criticizes certain fundamental commitments of virtue theories in epistemology. A basic question for virtues approaches is whether they represent a ‘third force’––a different source of normativity to internalism and externalism. Virtues approaches so-conceived are opposed. It is argued that virtues theories offer us nothing that can unify the internalist and externalist sub-components of their preferred success-state. Claims that character can unify a virtues-based axiology are overturned. Problems with the pluralism of virtues theories are identified––problems with (...) pluralism and the nature of the self; and problems with pluralism and the goals of epistemology. Moral objections to virtue theory are identified––specifically, both the idea that there can be a radical axiological priority to character and the anti-enlightenment tendencies in virtues approaches. Finally, some strengths to virtue theory are conceded, while the role of epistemic luck is identified as an important topic for future work. (shrink)
This paper examines the claim made by certain virtue epistemologists that intellectual character virtues like fair-mindedness, open-mindedness and intellectual courage merit an important and fundamental role in epistemology. I begin by considering whether these traits merit an important role in the analysis of knowledge. I argue that they do not and that in fact they are unlikely to be of much relevance to any of the traditional problems in epistemology. This presents a serious challenge for virtue epistemology. (...) I go on to examine the work of two other virtue epistemologists in light of this challenge and then sketch an alternative approach that reveals how the intellectual virtues might merit a substantial role in epistemology even if not a role in connection with more traditional epistemological projects. (shrink)
This dissertation is a contribution to formal and computational philosophy. -/- In the first part, we show that by exploiting the parallels between large, yet finite lotteries on the one hand and countably infinite lotteries on the other, we gain insights in the foundations of probability theory as well as in epistemology. Case 1: Infinite lotteries. We discuss how the concept of a fair finite lottery can best be extended to denumerably infinite lotteries. The solution boils down to the (...) introduction of infinitesimal probability values, which can be achieved using non-standard analysis. Our solution can be generalized to uncountable sample spaces, giving rise to a Non-Archimedean Probability (NAP) theory. Case 2: Large but finite lotteries. We propose application of the language of relative analysis (a type of non-standard analysis) to formulate a new model for rational belief, called Stratified Belief. This contextualist model seems well-suited to deal with a concept of beliefs based on probabilities ‘sufficiently close to unity’. -/- The second part presents a case study in social epistemology. We model a group of agents who update their opinions by averaging the opinions of other agents. Our main goal is to calculate the probability for an agent to end up in an inconsistent belief state due to updating. To that end, an analytical expression is given and evaluated numerically, both exactly and using statistical sampling. The probability of ending up in an inconsistent belief state turns out to be always smaller than 2%. (shrink)
The basic aim of Alvin Goldman’s approach to epistemology, and the tradition it represents, is naturalistic; that is, epistemological theories in this tradition aim to identify the naturalistic, nonnormative criteria on which justified belief supervenes (Goldman, 1986; Markie, 1997). The basic method of Goldman’s epistemology, and the tradition it represents, is the reflective equilibrium test; that is, epistemological theories in this tradition are tested against our intuitions about cases of justified and unjustified belief (Goldman, 1986; Markie, 1997). I (...) will argue that the prospect of having to reject their standard methodology is one epistemologists have to take very seriously; and I will do this by arguing that some current rival theories of epistemic justification are in fact in reflective equilibrium with our intuitions about cases of justified and unjustified belief. That is, I will argue that intuition underdetermines theory choice in epistemology, in much the way that observation underdetermines theory choices in empirical sciences. If reflective equilibrium leads to the underdetermination problem I say it leads to, then it cannot satisfy the aims of contemporary epistemology, and so cannot serve as its standard methodology. (shrink)
In a number of recent papers Duncan Pritchard argues that virtue epistemology's central ability condition—one knows that p if and only if one has attained cognitive success (true belief) because of the exercise of intellectual ability—is neither necessary nor sufficient for knowledge. This paper discusses and dismisses a number of responses to Pritchard's objections and develops a new way of defending virtue epistemology against them.
In this paper I survey some recent developments in experimental philosophy and discuss their bearing on two leading theories in epistemology: Contextualism and Interest Relative Invariantism. In the first part of the paper, I survey some general issues of how experimental philosophy may be relevant to assessing contextualism and IRI. In the second part, I discuss and critique some of the recent experimental work.
The ancient Greeks almost universally accepted the thesis that virtues are skills. Skills have an underlying intellectual structure (logos), and having a particular skill entails understanding the relevant logos, possessing a general ability to diagnose and solve problems (phronesis), as well as having appropriate experience. Two implications of accepting this thesis for moral epistemology and epistemology in general are considered. Thinking of virtues as skills yields a viable virtue epistemology in which moral knowledge is a species of (...) a general kind of knowledge that is not philosophically suspect. Also, the debate between internalists and externalists in epistemology is subversively resolved. (edited). (shrink)
In modern, Western societies the purpose of schooling is to ensure that school-goers acquire knowledge of pre-existing practices, events, entities and so on. The knowledge that is learned is then tested to see if the learner has acquired a correct or adequate understanding of it. For this reason, it can be argued that schooling is organised around a representational epistemology: one which holds that knowledge is an accurate representation of something that is separate from knowledge itself. Since the object (...) of knowledge is assumed to exist separately from the knowledge itself, this epistemology can also be considered ‘spatial.’ In this paper we show how ideas from complexity have challenged the spatial epistemology’ of representation and we explore possibilities for an alternative ‘temporal’ understanding of knowledge in its relationship to reality. In addition to complexity, our alternative takes its inspiration from Deweyan ‘transactional realism’ and deconstruction. We suggest that ‘knowledge’ and ‘reality’ should not be understood as separate systems which somehow have to be brought into alignment with each other, but that they are part of the same emerging complex system which is never fully ‘present’ in any (discrete) moment in time. This not only introduces the notion of time into our understanding of the relationship between knowledge and reality, but also points to the importance of acknowledging the role of the ‘unrepresentable’ or ‘incalculable’. With this understanding knowledge reaches us not as something we receive but as a response, which brings forth new worlds because it necessarily adds something (which was not present anywhere before it appeared) to what came before. This understanding of knowledge suggests that the acquisition of curricular content should not be considered an end in itself. Rather, curricular content should be used to bring forth that which is incalculable from the perspective of the present. The epistemology of emergence therefore calls for a switch in focus for curricular thinking, away from questions about presentation and representation and towards questions about engagement and response. (shrink)
The paper argues against Peacocke's moderate rationalism in modality. In the first part, I show, by identifying an argumentative gap in its epistemology, that Peacocke's account has not met the Integration Challenge. I then argue that we should modify the account's metaphysics of modal concepts in order to avoid implausible consequences with regards to their possession conditions. This modification generates no extra explanatory gap. Yet, once the minimal modification that avoids those implausible consequences is made, the resulting account cannot (...) support Peacocke's moderate rationalism. (shrink)
In this paper I attempt to defuse a set of epistemic worries commonly raised against ideal observer theories. The worries arise because of the omniscience often attributed to ideal observers -- how can we, as finite humans, ever have access to the moral judgements or reactions of omniscient beings? I argue that many of the same concerns arise with respect to other moral theories (and that these concerns do not in fact reveal genuine flaws in any of these theories), and (...) further, that we can and often do have knowledge of the reactions of ideal observers (according to standard, prominent theories in the domain of epistemology). (shrink)
The paper provides an explanation of our knowledge of metaphysical modality, or modal knowledge, from our ability to evaluate counterfactual conditionals. The latter ability lends itself to an evolutionary explanation since it enables us to learn from mistakes. Different logical principles linking counterfactuals to metaphysical modality can be employed to extend this explanation to the epistemology of modality. While the epistemological use of some of these principles is either philosophically implausible or empirically inadequate, the equivalence of ‘Necessarily p’ with (...) ‘For all q, if q were the case, p would be the case’ is a suitable starting-point for an explanation of modal knowledge. (shrink)
The articles in this special issue of the yearbook Logical Analysis and History of Philosophy all concern, in one way or another, Hume’s epistemology and metaphysics. -/- There are discussions of our knowledge of causal powers, the extent to which conceivability is a guide to modality, and testimony; there are also discussions of our ideas of space and time, the role in Hume’s thought of the psychological mechanism of ‘completing the union’, the role of impressions, and Hume’s argument against (...) the claim that our perceptions are ‘locally conjoined’ with any entity (namely, a soul). (shrink)
This article illustrates in which sense genetic determinism is still part of the contemporary interactionist consensus in medicine. Three dimensions of this consensus are discussed: kinds of causes, a continuum of traits ranging from monogenetic diseases to car accidents, and different kinds of determination due to different norms of reaction. On this basis, this article explicates in which sense the interactionist consensus presupposes the innate?acquired distinction. After a descriptive Part 1, Part 2 reviews why the innate?acquired distinction is under (...) attack in contemporary philosophy of biology. Three arguments are then presented to provide a limited and pragmatic defense of the distinction: an epistemic, a conceptual, and a historical argument. If interpreted in a certain manner, and if the pragmatic goals of prevention and treatment (ideally specifying what medicine and health care is all about) are taken into account, then the innate?acquired distinction can be a useful epistemic tool. It can help, first, to understand that genetic determination does not mean fatalism, and, second, to maintain a system of checks and balances in the continuing nature?nurture debates. (shrink)
To know is to cognize, to cognize is to be a culturally bounded, rationality-bounded and environmentally located agent. Knowledge and cognition are thus dual aspects of human sociality. If social epistemology has the formation, acquisition, mediation, transmission and dissemination of knowledge in complex communities of knowers as its subject matter, then its third party character is essentially stigmergic. In its most generic formulation, stigmergy is the phenomenon of indirect communication mediated by modifications of the environment. Extending this notion one (...) might conceive of social stigmergy as the extra-cranial analog of an artifcial neural network providing epistemic structure. This paper recommends a stigmergic framework for social epistemology to account for the supposed tension between individual action, wants and beliefs and the social corpora. We also propose that the so-called "extended mind" thesis offers the requisite stigmergic cognitive analog to stigmergic knowledge. Stigmergy as a theory of interaction within complex systems theory is illustrated through an example that runs on a particle swarm optimization algorithm. (shrink)
A common worry about the genetic engineering of human beings is that it will reduce human genetic diversity, creating a biological monoculture that could not only increase our susceptibility to disease but also hasten the extinction of our species. Thus far, however, the evolutionary implications of human genetic modification remain largely unexplored. In this paper, I consider whether the widespread use of genetic engineering technology is likely to narrow the present range of genetic variation, and (...) if so, whether this would in fact lead to the evolutionary harms that some authors envision. By examining the nature of biological variation and its relation to population immunity and evolvability, I show that not only will genetic engineering have a negligible impact on human genetic diversity, but also that it will be more likely to ensure rather than undermine the health and longevity of the human species. (shrink)
Testimony is a crucial source of knowledge: we are to a large extent reliant upon what others tell us. It has been the subject of much recent interest in epistemology, and this volume collects twelve original essays on the topic by some of the world's leading philosophers. It will be the starting point for future research in this fertile field. Contributors include Robert Audi, C. A. J. Coady, Elizabeth Fricker, Richard Fumerton, Sanford C. Goldberg, Peter Graham, Jennifer Lackey, Keith (...) Lehrer, Richard Moran, Frederick F. Schmitt, Ernest Sosa, and James Van Cleve. (shrink)
People see five kinds of views in epistemology and ontology as hinging on there being words a person can learn only by private ostensive definitions, through direct acquaintance with his own sensations: skepticism about other minds, 2. skepticism about an external world, 3. foundationalism, 4. dualism, and 5. phenomenalism. People think Wittgenstein refuted these views by showing, they believe, no word is learnable only by private ostensive definition. I defend these five views from Wittgenstein’s attack.
The recent movement towards virtue–theoretic treatments of epistemological concepts can be understood in terms of the desire to eliminate epistemic luck. Significantly, however, it is argued that the two main varieties of virtue epistemology are responding to different types of epistemic luck. In particular, whilst proponents of reliabilism–based virtue theories have been focusing on the problem of what I call “veritic” epistemic luck, non–reliabilism–based virtue theories have instead been concerned with a very different type of epistemic luck, what I (...) call “reflective” epistemic luck. It is argued that, prima facie at least, both forms of epistemic luck need to be responded to by any adequate epistemological theory. The problem, however, is that one can best eliminate veritic epistemic luck by adducing a so–called safety–based epistemological theory that need not be allied to a virtue–based account, and there is no fully adequate way of eliminating reflective epistemic luck. I thus conclude that this raises a fundamental difficulty for virtue–based epistemological theories, on either construal. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]. (shrink)
Luck threatens in similar ways our conceptions of both moral and epistemic evaluation. This essay examines the problem of luck as a metaphilosophical problem spanning the division between subfields in philosophy. I first explore the analogies between ethical and epistemic luck by comparing influential attempts to expunge luck from our conceptions of agency in these two subfields. I then focus upon Duncan Pritchard's challenge to the motivations underlying virtue epistemology, based specifically on its handling of the problem of epistemic (...) luck. I argue that (1) consideration of the multifold nature of the problem of epistemic luck to an adequate account of human knowledge drives us to a mixed externalist epistemology; and (2) the virtue-theoretical approach presents a particularly advantageous way of framing and developing a mixed externalist epistemology. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Metaphilosophy is the property of Blackwell Publishing Limited and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts). (shrink)
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)
Charles Peirce's diagrammatic logic — the Existential Graphs — is presented as a tool for illuminating how we know necessity, in answer to Benacerraf's famous challenge that most ‘semantics for mathematics’ do not ‘fit an acceptable epistemology’. It is suggested that necessary reasoning is in essence a recognition that a certain structure has the particular structure that it has. This means that, contra Hume and his contemporary heirs, necessity is observable. One just needs to pay attention, not merely to (...) individual things but to how those things are related in larger structures, certain aspects of which relations force certain other aspects to be a certain way. (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 question of rationality and of its role in human agency has been at the core of pragmatist concerns since the beginning of this movement. While Peirce framed the horizon of a new understanding of human reason through the idea of inquiry as aiming at belief-fixation and James stressed the individualistic drives that move individuals to action, it is in Dewey’s writing that we find the deepest understanding of the naturalistic and normative traits of rationality considered as the qualifying attribute (...) of human agency. Recent developments in moral and political philosophy as well as in general pragmatist scholarship have shown a renewal of interest in the role of human reason in agency, both with respect to control of conduct (decisions about how to act) and with respect to normative attitudes (considerations of what is good and right). In this article I will examine some features of Dewey’s epistemology which are particularly promising for the elaboration of a theory of practical rationality based on pragmatist sources. In particular, I will focus on Dewey’s notion of “judgment of practice” in order to frame a distinctively Deweyan approach to practical rationality. In order to point out the specificity of Dewey’s epistemological framework, I will refer to it as an “epistemology of practice”i. The aim of this article is to clarify the epistemological meaning of the concepts of articulation and transformation, that Dewey places at the heart of his theory of inquiry. Part of my argument consists in showing that through these notions Dewey aimed at broadening the conception of rationality, bringing it beyond the reach of the standard notions of analysis and synthesis and of induction, deduction, and abduction. Once the specificity of Dewey’s conception of rationality will have been demonstrated, I will proceed to show some of its implications in the explanation of the rationality of human agency with reference to practical reasoning and value assessment. I will then conclude the article by drawing some implications of Dewey’s theory of judgment for a broader epistemology based upon the acknowledgment of the primacy of practice. (shrink)
Abstract: In this article, the logic and functions of character-trait ascriptions in ethics and epistemology is compared, and two major problems, the "generality problem" for virtue epistemologies and the "global trait problem" for virtue ethics, are shown to be far more similar in structure than is commonly acknowledged. I suggest a way to put the generality problem to work by making full and explicit use of a sliding scale--a "narrow-broad spectrum of trait ascription"-- and by accounting for the various (...) uses of it in an inquiry-pragmatist account. In virtue theories informed by inquiry pragmatism, the agential habits and abilities deemed salient in explanations/evaluations of agents in particular cases, and the determination of what relevant domains and conditions an agent's habit or ability is reliably efficacious in, is determined by pragmatic concerns related to our evaluative epistemic practices. (shrink)
In Italy, a judge reduced the sentence of a defendant by 1 year in response to evidence for a genetic predisposition to violence. The best characterized of these genetic differences, those in the monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), were cited as especially relevant. Several months previously in the USA, MAOA data contributed to a jury reducing charges from 1st degree murder (a capital offence) to voluntary manslaughter. Is there a rational basis for this type of use of MAOA evidence (...) in criminal court? This paper will review in context recent work on the MAOA gene–environment interaction in predisposing individuals to violence and address the relevance of such findings to murder trials. Interestingly, the MAOA genetic variants impact future violence and aggression only when combined with the adverse environmental stimuli of childhood maltreatment. Thus nature and nurture interact to determine the individual’s risk. Based on current evidence, I argue there is a weak case for mitigation. But should future experiments confirm the hypothesis that individual differences in impulse control and response to provocation found in MAOA-L men (without abuse) are significantly magnified when combined with childhood maltreatment, the case could turn into a stronger one. (shrink)
Virtue Epistemology is a new movement receiving the bulk of recent attention from top epistemologists and ethicists; this volume reflects the best work in that vein. Included are unpublished articles by such eminent philosophers as Robert Audi, Simon Blackburn, Alvin Goldman, Christopher Hookway, Keith Lehrer, and Ernest Sosa.
Standard epistemology takes it for granted that there is a special kind of value: epistemic value. This claim does not seem to sit well with act utilitarianism, however, since it holds that only welfare is of real value. I first develop a particularly utilitarian sense of “epistemic value”, according to which it is closely analogous to the nature of financial value. I then demonstrate the promise this approach has for two current puzzles in the intersection of epistemology and (...) value theory: first, the problem of why knowledge is better than mere true belief, and second, the relation between epistemic justification and responsibility. (shrink)
In this paper I argue, first, that the most influential (and perhaps only acceptable) account of the epistemology of self-knowledge, developed and defended at great length in Wright (1989b) and (1989c) (among other places), leaves unanswered a question about the psychology of self-knowledge; second, that without an answer to this question about the psychology of self-knowledge, the epistemic account cannot be considered acceptable; and third, that neither Wright's own answer, nor an interpretation-based answer (based on a proposal from Jacobsen (...) (1997)), will suffice as an acceptable answer to the psychological question. My general ambition is thus to establish that more work is needed if we are to have a full account of self-knowledge in both its epistemological and psychological aspects. I conclude by suggesting how my thesis bears on those who aim to provide an empirical account of the cognition involved in self-knowledge. (shrink)
Is inheritable genetic modification the new dividing line in gene therapy? The editors of this searching investigation, representing clinical medicine, public health and biomedical ethics, have established a distinguished team of scientists and scholars to address the issues from the perspectives of biological and social science, law and ethics, including an intriguing Foreword from Peter Singer. Their purpose is to consider how society might deal with the ethical concerns raised by inheritable genetic modification, and to re-examine prevailing views (...) about whether these procedures will ever be ethically and socially justifiable. The book also provides background to define the field, and discusses the biological and technological potential for inheritable genetic modification, its limitations, and its connection with gene therapy, cloning, and other reproductive interventions. For scientists, bioethicists, clinicians, counsellors and public commentators, this is an essential contribution to one of the critical debates in current genetics. (shrink)
This book highlights some of the principles which should be considered by planners, legislative drafters, and policy-makers as they work to develop legal frameworks on access to genetic resources in their countries. Contextual information on the Convention on Biological Diversity and examples of how countries have approached the issue to date are provided.
This essay aims to sharpen debates on the pros and cons of historical epistemology, which is now understood as a novel approach to the study of knowledge, by comparing it with the history of epistemology as traditionally pursued by philosophers. The many versions of both approaches are not always easily discernable. Yet, a reasoned comparison of certain versions can and should be made. In the first section of this article, I argue that the most interesting difference involves neither (...) the subject matter nor goal, but the methods used by the two approaches. In the second section, I ask which of the two approaches or methods is more promising given that both historical epistemologists and historians of epistemology claim to contribute to epistemology simpliciter . Using traditional problems concerning the epistemic role of perception, I argue that the historical epistemologies of Wartofsky and Daston and Galison fail to show that studying practices of perception is philosophically significant. Standard methods from the history of epistemology are more promising, as I show by means of reconstructing arguments in a debate about the relation between perception and judgment in psychological research on the famous moon illusion. (shrink)
According to a common objection to epistemological naturalism, no empirical, scientific theory of knowledge can be normative in the way epistemological theories need to be. In response, such naturalists as W.V. Quine have claimed naturalized epistemology can be normative by emulating engineering disciplines and addressing the relations of causal efficacy between our cognitive means and ends. This paper evaluates that "engineering reply" and finds it a mixed success. Based on consideration of what it might mean to call a theory (...) "normative," seven versions of the normativity objection to epistemological naturalism are formulated. The engineering reply alone is sufficient to answer only the four least sophisticated versions. To answer the others, naturalists must draw on more resources than their engineering reply alone provides. (shrink)
A strong, strictly virtue- based , and at the same time truth-centered framework for virtue epistemology (VE) is proposed that bases VE upon a clearly motivating epistemic virtue, inquisitiveness or curiosity in a very wide sense, characterizes the purely executive capacities-virtues as a means for the truth-goal set by the former, and, finally, situates the remaining, partly motivating and partly executive virtues in relation to this central stock of virtues. Character-trait epistemic virtues are presented as hybrids, partly moral, partly (...) purely epistemic. In order to make the approach virtue- based , it is argued that the central virtue (inquisitiveness or curiosity) is responsible for the value of truth: truth is valuable to cognizers because they are inquisitive, and most other virtues are a means for satisfying inquisitiveness. On can usefully combine this virtue-based account of the motivation for acquiring knowledge with a Sosa-style analysis of the concept “knowledge”, which brings to the forefront virtues-capacities, in order to obtain a full-blooded, “strong” VE. (shrink)
From the ferment of recent debates about the intellectual virtues, Roberts and Wood develop an approach they call 'regulative epistemology', exploring the connection between knowledge and intellectual virtue. In the course of their argument they analyse particular virtues of intellectual life - such as courage, generosity, and humility - in detail.
This paper defends and extends Quine's version of a naturalistic epistemology, and defends it against criticism, especially that offered by Kim, according to which Quine's naturalism deprives epistemology of its normative role, and indeed of its relevance to psychological states, such as beliefs, whose warrant epistemology aims to assess. I defend Quinean epistemology's objections to the epistemic pluralism associated with other self-styled naturalistic epistemologies, and show how recent theories in the philosophy of psychology which fail to (...) account for the intentionality of psychological states in fact provide a cognitive foundation for an eliminativist epistemology which both honors Quine's strictures and helps us accommodate important findings and results in experimental psychology and cognitive science. (shrink)
One version of virtue epistemology defines knowledge as belief whose truth arises from, or is explained by, the motives that produced it. This version is also intended to solve the Gettier problem, by shielding properly caused beliefs from double accidents. Unfortunately, there is no notion of "explains" or "arises from" which explains in the intended sense the truth of true beliefs.
Duhem’s concept of “good sense” is central to his philosophy of science, given that it is what allows scientist to decide between competing theories. Scientists must use good sense and have intellectual and moral virtues in order to be neutral arbiters of scientific theories, especially when choosing between empirically adequate theories. I discuss the parallels in Duhem’s views to those of virtue epistemologists, who understand justified belief as that arrived at by a cognitive agent with intellectual and moral virtues, showing (...) how consideration of Duhem as a virtue epistemologist offers insights into his views, as well as providing possible answers to some puzzles about virtue epistemology. The extent to which Duhem holds that the intellectual and moral virtues of the scientist determine scientific knowledge has not been generally noticed. (shrink)
The paper approaches the topic of what a general philosophy of science could mean today from the perspective of a historical epistemology. Consequently, in a first step, the paper looks at the notion of generality in the sciences, and how it evolved over time, on the example of the life sciences. In the second part of the paper, the urgency of a general philosophy of science is located in the history of philosophy of science. Two attempts at the beginning (...) of the twentieth century are particularly highlighted: that of Karl Popper and that of Martin Heidegger. Both of them concentrate, albeit in widely different form, on the phenomenon of research as an open-ended process. This trend is even more pronounced in Gaston Bachelard’s version of a historical epistemology, whose work is taken as a point of reference for a general historical epistemology of research. The paper concludes with a plea to look, with Georges Canguilhem, at the history of the sciences as a laboratory for epistemology. (shrink)
For elite athletes seeking a winning advantage, manipulation of their own genetic code has become a realistic possibility. In Genetic Technology and Sport, experts from sports science, genetics, philosophy, ethics, and international sports administration describe the potential applications of the new technology and debate the questions surrounding its use.
The first part of this paper asks why we need, or what would motivate, ameaningful expansion of epistemology. It answers with three critical arguments found in the recent literature, which each purport to move us some distance beyond the preoccupations of ‘post-Gettier era’ analytic epistemology. These three—the ‘epistemic luck,’ ‘epistemic value’ and ‘epistemic reconciliation’ arguments associated with D. Pritchard, J. Kvanvig, and M. Williams, respectively—each carry this implication of needed expansion by functioning as forceful ‘internal critiques’ of the (...) tradition. The second part of the paper asks what specific directions an expanded field of epistemology should take. While this is taken as an open question for debate, the expansion suggested here remains continuous with the analytic tradition, while also underlining the centrality of the acquired or ‘reflective’ intellectual virtues in meeting the burdens of the three arguments. Responsibilism, as here understood, is not a philosophical thesis so much as an orientation of commitment to clearing away philosophical assumptions that systematically obstruct recognition of the importance of empirically-informed research programs into the reflective virtues. (shrink)
In addition to considerable debate in the recent evolutionary literature about the limits of the Modern Synthesis of the 1930s and 1940s, there has also been theoretical and empirical interest in a variety of new and not so new concepts such as phenotypic plasticity, genetic assimilation and phenotypic accommodation. Here we consider examples of the arguments and counter- arguments that have shaped this discussion. We suggest that much of the controversy hinges on several misunderstandings, including unwarranted fears of a (...) general attempt at overthrowing the Modern Synthesis paradigm, and some fundamental conceptual confusion about the proper roles of phenotypic plasticity and natural selection within evolutionary theory. (shrink)
The concept of innateness is used to make inferences between various better-understood properties, like developmental canalization, evolutionary adaptation, heritability, species-typicality, and so on (‘innateness-related properties’). This article uses a recently-developed account of the representational content carried by inheritance systems like the genome to explain why innateness-related properties cluster together, especially in non-human organisms. Although inferences between innateness-related properties are deductively invalid, and lead to false conclusions in many actual cases, where some aspect of a phenotypic trait develops in reliance on (...) a genetic representation it will tend, better than chance, to have many of the innateness-related properties. The account also shows why inferences between innateness-related properties sometimes fail and argues that such inferences are especially misleading when applied to human psychology and behaviour because human psychological development is especially reliant on non-genetic inherited representations. (shrink)
Many naturalistically-minded philosophers want to accomplish a naturalistic reduction of normative (e.g. moral and epistemic) claims. Mindful of avoiding the naturalistic fallacy, such philosophers claim that they are not reducing moral and epistemic concepts or definitions. Rather, they are only reducing the extension of these normative terms, while admitting that the concepts possess a normative content that cannot be naturalistically reduced. But these philosophers run into a serious problem. I will argue that normative claims possess two dimensions of normativity. I (...) will further argue that certain of the reductionist’s commitments require that these two dimensions of normativity be given a naturalistic reduction, while the other of the reductionist’s commitments make such a reduction impossible. Thus, the reductionist’s commitments both require and forbid a reductionist account of morality and epistemology. Thus, as we will see, reductionism is torn between two incompatible requirements, and must fail. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to explore the impact that developments in transhumanist technologies may have upon human cultures (and thus upon the lifeworld), and to do so by exploring a potential debate between Habermas and the transhumanists. Transhumanists, such as Nick Bostrom, typically see the potential in genetic and other technologies for positively expanding and transcending human nature. In contrast, Habermas is a representative of those who are fearful of this technology, suggesting that it will compound the (...) deleterious effects of the colonisation of the lifeworld, further constraining human autonomy and undermining the meaningfulness of the lifeworld by expanding the technological control and manipulation of humanity. It will be argued that these opposed positions are grounded in fundamentally different understandings of the consequences of scientific and technological advance. On one level, the transhumanists remain confident that the lifeworld has within it the resources necessary to find meaning and purpose in a society deeply infused by genetic technology. Habermas disagrees. On another level, the difference is articulated by Horkheimer and Adorno in Dialectic of Enlightenment, primarily by challenging what may be understood as a Baconian faith in science as a project for the domination of nature (where nature is an infinitely malleable material, to be dominated and shaped, without adverse consequences, purely for the purposes of human survival). While the transhumanists broadly embrace this faith, Habermas returns to something akin to Horkheimer and Adorno’s pessimistic scepticism. (shrink)
The idea of genetic assimilation, that environmentally induced phenotypes may become genetically fixed and no longer require the original environmental stimulus, has had varied success through time in evolutionary biology research. Proposed by Waddington in the 1940s, it became an area of active empirical research mostly thanks to the efforts of its inventor and his collaborators. It was then attacked as of minor importance during the ‘‘hardening’’ of the neo-Darwinian synthesis and was relegated to a secondary role for decades. (...) Recently, several papers have appeared, mostly independently of each other, to explore the likelihood of genetic assimilation as a biological phenomenon and its potential importance to our understanding of evolution. In this article we briefly trace the history of the concept and then discuss theoretical models that have newly employed genetic assimilation in a variety of contexts. We propose a typical scenario of evolution of genetic assimilation via an intermediate stage of phenotypic plasticity and present potential examples of the same. We also discuss a conceptual map of current and future lines of research aimed at exploring the actual relevance of genetic assimilation for evolutionary biology. (shrink)
This paper assesses the comparative reliability of two belief-revision rules relevant to the epistemology of disagreement, the Equal Weight and Stay the Course rules. I use two measures of reliability for probabilistic belief-revision rules, calibration and Brier Scoring, to give a precise account of epistemic peerhood and epistemic reliability. On the calibration measure of reliability, epistemic peerhood is easy to come by, and employing the Equal Weight rule generally renders you less reliable than Staying the Course. On the Brier-Score (...) measure of reliability, epistemic peerhood is much more difficult to come by, but employing the Equal Weight rule always renders you more reliable than Staying the Course. I conclude with some normative lessons we can draw from these formal results. (shrink)
Philip Kitcher has advanced an epistemology of science that purports to be naturalistic. For Kitcher, this entails that his epistemology of science must explain the correctness of belief-regulating norms while endorsing a realist notion of truth. This paper concerns whether or not Kitcher's epistemology of science is naturalistic on these terms. I find that it is not but that by supplementing the account we can secure its naturalistic standing.
From the ferment of recent debates about the intellectual virtues, Roberts and Wood develop an approach they call 'regulative epistemology', exploring the connection between knowledge and intellectual virtue. In the course of their argument they analyse particular virtues of intellectual life - such as courage, generosity, and humility - in detail.
This paper evaluates Sara Goering’s recent attempt to use the Rawlsian notion of the veil of ignorance as a tool for distinguishing permissible from impermissible forms of genetic engineering. I argue that her article fails due to a failure to include vital contextual information in the right way.
In this paper, the problem of correct ascriptions of consciousness to patients in neurological intensive care medicine is explored as a special case of the general philosophical other minds problem. It is argued that although clinical ascriptions of consciousness and coma are mostly based on behavioral evidence, a behaviorist epistemology of other minds is not likely to succeed. To illustrate this, the so-called total locked-in syndrome, in which preserved consciousness is combined with a total loss of motor abilities due (...) to a lower ventral brain stem lesion, is presented as a touchstone for behaviorism. It is argued that this example of consciousness without behavioral expression does not disprove behaviorism specifically, but rather illustrates the need for a non-verificationist theory of other minds. It is further argued that a folk version of such a theory already underlies our factual ascriptions of consciousness in clinical contexts. Finally, a non-behaviorist theory of other minds for patients with total locked-in syndrome is outlined. (shrink)
Richard Goldschmidt famously rejected the notion of atomic and corpuscular genes, arranged on the chromosome like beads-on-a-string. I provide an exegesis of Goldschmidt’s intuition by analyzing his repeated and extensive use of metaphorical language and analogies in his attempts to convey his notion of the nature of the genetic material and specifically the significance of chromosomal pattern. The paper concentrates on Goldschmidt’s use of metaphors in publications spanning 1940-1955. -/- .