Anarchism is a theory of the good society, in which justice and social order are maintained without the State (or government). Many anarchists in the libertarian movement (including myself) were heavily influenced by the epistemological and moral theories of Ayn Rand. According to these anarchists, Rand's principles, if consistently applied, lead necessarily to a repudiation of government on moral grounds.
: Incommensurability between successive scientific theories—the impossibility of empirical evidence dictating the choice between them—was Thomas Kuhn's most controversial proposal. Toward defending it, he directed much effort over his last 30 years into formulating precise conditions under which two theories would be undeniably incommensurable with one another. His first step, in the late 1960s, was to argue that incommensurability must result when two theories involve incompatible taxonomies. The problem he then struggled with, never obtaining a solution that he found entirely (...) satisfactory, was how to extend this initial line of thought to sciences like physics in which taxonomy is not so transparently dominant as it is, for example, in chemistry. This paper reconsiders incommensurability in the light of examples in which evidence historically did and did not carry over continuously from old laws and theories to new ones. The transition from ray to wave optics early in the nineteenth century, we argue, is especially informative in this regard. The evidence for the theory of polarization within ray optics did not carry over to wave optics, so that this transition can be regarded as a prototypical case of discontinuity of evidence, and hence of incommensurability in the way Kuhn wanted. Yet the evidence for classic geometric optics did carry over to wave optics, notwithstanding the fundamental conceptual readjustment that Fresnel's wave theory required. (shrink)
Not everyone finds a in suffering. Indeed, even those who do subscribe to this interpretation recognize the responsibility of each individual to show not only sensitivity and compassion but render assistance to those in distress. Pharmacologic hypnosis, morphine intoxication, and terminal sedation provide their own type of medical to the terminally ill patient suffering unremitting pain. More and more states are enacting legislation that recognizes this need of the dying to receive relief through regulated administration of controlled substances. Wider legislative (...) recognition of this need would go far toward allowing physicians, in the exercise of their reasonable medical judgment, to administer a range of narcotics and barbiturates to the terminally ill without fear of legal sanctions. Sadly, social attitudes and governmental concerns about the spread of drug addiction provide an undeniable policy nexus that impedes unduly a rational approach or exception for the treatment of pain experienced by the dying. (shrink)
This comment on Michael Bratman's Planning and the Stability of Intention focuses on sources of the rational stability of intentions which are not related to the presence of reflectively overrideable non-deliberative habits of (non)reconsideration. It is true that intentions have a rational resistance to reconsideration, but this stability can be understood as a by-product of the scheduling of cognitive tasks. This scheduling effect is intrinsic to all actual systems, that is, systems whose reasoning is not instantaneous or otherwise costless. Additionally, (...) rules governing practical reasoning, including rules governing reasoning with intentions, will not uniformly be subject to overrides resulting from reflective operations. Hence there is no basis for distinguishing human reasoners from artificial reasoners by reference to an alleged human capacity to reflectivity evaluate its own reasoning operations. (shrink)
A particular research program on mental imagery is defended against certain sweeping methodological criticisms that have been advanced against it. The central claim is that the approach taken in the program is an appropriate response to the problem of doing empirical research in a theoretical vacuum, and that when it is viewed in this perspective, the criticisms are not merely unfounded, they are inappropriate. The argument for this claim is developed by first describing the program and then analyzing the methodological (...) rationale behind it. (shrink)