Scientific Essentialism defends the view that the fundamental laws of nature depend on the essential properties of the things on which they are said to operate, and are therefore not independent of them. These laws are not imposed upon the world by God, the forces of nature, or anything else, but rather are immanent in the world. Ellis argues that ours is a dynamic world consisting of more or less transient objects which are constantly interacting with each other, and (...) whose identities depend on their roles in these processes. Natural objects must behave as they do, because to do otherwise would be contrary to their natures. The laws of nature are, therefore, metaphysically necessary, and consequently, there are necessary connections between events. Brian Ellis calls for the rejection of the theory of Humean Supervenience and an implementation of a new kind of realism in philosophical analysis. (shrink)
For scientific essentialists, the only logical possibilities of existence are the real (or metaphysical) ones, and such possibilities, they say, are relative to worlds. They are not a priori, and they cannot just be invented. Rather, they are discoverable only by the a posteriori methods of science. There are, however, many philosophers who think that real possibilities are knowable a priori, or that they can just be invented. Marc Lange [Lange 2004] thinks that they can be invented, and tries to (...) use his inventions to argue that the essentialist theory of counterfactual conditionals developed in Scientific Essentialism [Ellis 2001, hereafter SE] is flawed. (shrink)
This book traces a deep misunderstanding about the relation of concepts and reality in the history of philosophy. It exposes the influence of the mistake in the thought of Locke, Berkeley, Kant, Nietzche and Bradley and suggests that the solution can be found in Hegelian thought. Ellis argues that the treatment proposed exemplifies Hegel's dialectical method, an important contribution to this area of philosophy.
Lewis's dynamical systems emotion theory continues a tradition including Merleau-Ponty, von Bertallanfy, and Aristotle. Understandably for a young theory, Lewis's new predictions do not follow strictly from the theory; thus their failure would not disconfirm the theory, nor their success confirm it – especially given that other self-organizational approaches to emotion (e.g., those of Ellis and of Newton) may not be inconsistent with these same predictions.
This paper is a response to the "panel discussion of simultaneity by slow clock transport in the special and general theories of relativity" ("philosophy of science", 36, (march, 1969), Pp. 1-81) which arose out of a paper by brian ellis and peter bowman on "conventionality in distant simultaneity", ("philosophy of science", 34, (june, 1967), Pp. 116-36). It is argued that the basic disagreement between the pittsburgh panel and us is an epistemological one. In particular, Our concept of a good (...) physical reason is radically different from the pittsburgh panel's. For us the known existence of a number of concordant, Isotropic, And logically independent criteria for distant simultaneity, And the non-Existence of any known discordant but isotropic criteria for distant simultaneity is a good physical reason for choosing one of these criteria. For the pittsburgh panel it is not. (shrink)
Ellis, Brian Humanists have an unconditional concern for the wellbeing and dignity of humankind. They are fundamentally concerned with increasing the overall quality of people's lives, regardless of their behaviour, and to treat people with respect. They seek to do so by promoting the development of people's natural talents and inculcating attitudes of mutual respect and tolerance. Their central idea is that every person should be treated with equal concern for their good.
Ellis, Brian Humanism has a lot to offer the world. It is not just an individual moral philosophy, although it includes such a philosophy. Nor is it just a political program, although it implies one. The theory of social humanism, which was developed in a book I published last year, is both a moral and a political philosophy. It is socially democratic, and morally and politically humanistic.
In this book, Ellis argues that moral and political objectives are not independent of one other, and so must be pursued in tandem. Social humanism is a moral and political philosophy that does just this.
Many organizations are utilizing corporate social responsibility initiatives that require employee participation. These initiatives, which involve social action at work (SAW), can be a source of reputational gains, benefit the community, and increase employee organizational identification (Ellis, 2009). Although research has been conducted on employee volunteer programs (EVP), one aspect of SAW, those studies have not identified the characteristics of employees who are most likely to participate in EVP nor have they considered the wide range of SAW programs. In (...) the field of Sociology, extensive research has been conducted to identify characteristics of volunteers, but these volunteer programs are outside the context of CSR initiatives. This research addresses this gap by identifying the characteristics of those who engage in SAW across a wide range of activities. The results of the study can help hone future research questions and aid practitioners in developing and marketing SAW programs that resonate with employees and maximize participation for the good of the employees, organization, and community as a whole. (shrink)
In traditional rebates, consumers submit proof of purchase for an item and then receive a portion of the purchase price, usually in the form of a check or gift card. In contrast, when a consumer redeems a cause rebate, a cash reward is given not to the consumer but to a non-profit organization (Ellis & McCall, 2011). In this paper, we aim to determine the attitudes toward and effectiveness of cause rebates versus traditional rebates. This will help marketers develop (...) more effective rebate programs for their products. We also will investigate characteristics of consumers more likely to redeem cause rebates. Cause rebates represent a mechanism by which businesses can promote personal responsibility on the part of consumers and help draw attention to and raise funds for social and environmental issues. (shrink)
The book includes contributions by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, George F. R. Ellis , Christopher D. Frith, Mark Hallett, David Hodgson, Owen D. Jones, Alicia Juarrero, J. A. Scott Kelso, Christof Koch, Hans Küng, Hakwan C. Lau, Dean Mobbs, ...
The aim of this paper is to argue that there are categorical properties as well as causal powers, and that the world would not exist as we know it without them. For categorical properties are needed to define the powers—to locate them, and to specify their laws of action. These categorical properties, I shall argue, are not dispositional. For their identities do not depend on what they dispose their bearers to do. They are, as Alexander Bird would say, ’quiddities’. But (...) there is nothing wrong with quiddities. And, in the second half of this paper, I shall defend the thesis that all categorical properties are quiddities. (shrink)
A celebrated problem for representationalist theories of phenomenal character is that, given externalism about content, these theories lead to externalism about phenomenal character. While externalism about content is widely accepted, externalism about phenomenal character strikes many philosophers as wildly implausible. Even if internally identical individuals could have different thoughts, it is said, if one of them has a headache, or a tingly sensation, so must the other. In this paper, I argue that recent work on phenomenal concepts reveals that, contrary (...) to appearances, this standard conjunction of externalism about content and internalism about phenomenal character is ultimately untenable on other models of phenomenal character as well, including even “qualia realism.” This would be significant for a number of reasons. The first is patent: it would undermine a primary objection to representationalism. The fact that representationalism is incompatible with the conjunction would be no serious problem for representationalism if no other plausible model of phenomenal character is compatible with it. The second is that the many philosophers who embrace the conjunction would be forced to abandon one of the two views; externalism would be true either of both content and phenomenal character, or of neither. Likewise, those philosophers who have taken a stance on only one of the two internalism/externalism debates would have to be seen as thereby committed to a particular stance on the other. The third reason stems from the fact that qualia realism typically goes hand in hand with internalism about phenomenal character. To the extent that it does, my argument would reveal that qualia realism is itself in tension with externalism about content. This would perhaps be the most surprising result of all. (shrink)
This paper reports on the Kuhnian revolution now occurring in neuropsychology that is finally supportive of and friendly to phenomenology – the “enactive” approach to the mind-body relation, grounded in the notion of self-organization, which is consistent with Husserl and Merleau-Ponty on virtually every point. According to the enactive approach, human minds understand the world by virtue of the ways our bodies can act relative to it, or the ways we can imagine acting. This requires that action be distinguished from (...) passivity, that the mental be approached from a first person perspective, and that the cognitive capacities of the brain be grounded in the emotional and motivational processes that guide action and anticipate action affordances. It avoids the old intractable problems inherent in the computationalist approaches of twentieth century atomism and radical empiricism, and again allows phenomenology to bridge to neuropsychology in the way Merleau-Ponty was already doing over half a century ago. (shrink)
I start from the presupposition that the use of force against another is justified only in self-defence or in defence of others against aggression. If so, the main work of justifying punishment must rely on its deterrent effect, since most punishments have no other significant self-defensive effect. It has often been objected to the deterrent justification of punishment that it commits us to using offenders unacceptably, and that it is unable to deliver acceptable limits on punishment. I describe a sort (...) of deterrent theory which can avoid both of these objections. (shrink)
Do minority groups have a right to the preservation of their language? I argue that the rights of groups are always reducible to the rights of individuals. In that case, the question whether minorities have a right to the preservation of their language is a question of whether individuals have a right to it. I argue that, in the only relevant sense of ‘right’, they do not. They may have an interest in the preservation of their language, but, if so, (...) that interest must be weighed against the costs of satisfying it, and, normally at least, we should expect that the costs will be quite out of proportion to the weight of the interests involved. (shrink)
Barry Stroud is well known as a critic of philosophers who purport to answer, or otherwise deflate, the threat of skepticism of the external world. He is most famous in this regard for his seminal paper on transcendental arguments, in which he argues that the prospects of defeating the skeptic with such arguments typically depend upon an implausible form of verification principle. There he mostly focuses upon Strawson and Shoemaker. But since then, Stroud has addressed strategies taken against skepticism as (...) varied as those proposed by Kant, Moore, Austin, Carnap, Quine, Cavell, Davidson, and Sosa, in each case meticulously articulating precisely why the strategy could not ultimately succeed. It is not surprising, then, that Stroud has come to be thought of as the quintessential skeptic. Epistemologists will be surprised to learn, then, that in several recent papers Stroud now argues that we face no threat of skepticism after all. If he who has been so carefully critical of enterprises that purport to answer, or otherwise deflate, the threat of skepticism has something now to say as to why we face no such threat at all, it is a proposal that comes with good pedigree and perhaps even a presumption in its favor. (shrink)
I argue in this paper that anyone who accepts the ontology of scientific realism can only accept a pragmatic theory of truth, i.e., a theory on which truth is what it is epistemically right to believe. But the combination of realism with such a theory of truth is a form of internal realism; therefore, a scientific realist should be an internal realist. The strategy of the paper is to argue that there is no adequate semantic or correspondence theory of truth (...) compatible with a realist ontology, that a redundancy theory cannot account for the value of truth, and that the only kind of truth theory which can account for the value of truth, and is compatible with a realist ontology, is a pragmatic theory. The kind of truth theory I wish to defend is objective and naturalistic, and the ontology is realistic. My position is, therefore, one of objective, naturalistic realism. (shrink)
In Davidson’s philosophy, one finds a wide variety of rich, provocative, and influential arguments concerning the nature of the mind—that mental states emerge only in the context of interpretation, that belief is “in its nature” veridical, that mental events are physical events, and so on. Most, if not all, of Davidson’s conclusions about the mind have their source in discussions about the project of “radical interpretation.” They rely upon arguments concerning the conditions on the successful interpretation of a speaker by (...) an interpreter who knows nothing initially about the speaker’s language or mental states. (shrink)
I reconsider the idea that there is an analogy between belief in other minds and belief in God, and examine two approaches to the relevant beliefs. The 'explanatory inductive' approach raises difficulties in both contexts, and involves questionable assumptions. The 'expressivist' approach is more promising, and presupposes a more satisfactory metaphysical framework in the first context. Its application to God is similarly insightful, and offers an intellectually respectable, albeit resistible, version of the doctrine that nature is a book of lessons.
In this paper, I argue against Alva Noë’s defense of the claim that knowing how to do something requires being able to do it. Noë objects to Jason Stanley and Timothy Williamson’s arguments against this claim by charging that their arguments involve a lot of what he calls “GOOP”: good old-fashioned Oxford philosophy. I provide an example in which I claim an individual knows how to do something that he is unable to do. The example is persuasive, I maintain, and (...) especially so against someone who forbids the use of GOOP in this context. (shrink)
Traditionally, forces are causes of a special sort. Forces have been conceived to be the direct or immediate causes of things. Other sorts of causes act indirectly by producing forces which are transmitted in various ways to produce various effects. However, forces are supposed to act directly without the mediation of anything else. But forces, so conceived, appear to be occult. They are mysterious, because we have no clear conception of what they are, as opposed to what they are postulated (...) to do; and they seem to be hidden from direct observations. There is, therefore, strong initial motivation for trying to eliminate forces from physics. Furthermore, as we shall explain, powerful arguments can be mounted to show that theories with forces can always be recast as theories without them. Hence it seems that forces should be eliminated, in the interests of simplicity. We argue, however, that forces should not be eliminated--just differently construed. For the effect of elimination is to leave us without any adequate account of the causal relationships forces were postulated to explain. And this would remain the case, even if forces could be identified with some merely dispositional properties of physical systems. In our view, forces are species of the causal relation itself, and as such have a different ontological status from the sorts of entities normally considered to be related as causes to effects. (shrink)
According to colour irrealism, material objects do not have colour; they only appear to have colour. The appeal of this view, prominent among philosophers and scientists alike, stems in large part from the conviction that scientific explanations of colour facts do not ascribe colour to material objects. To explain why objects appear to have colour, for instance, we need only appeal to surface reflectance properties, properties of light, the neurophysiology of observers, etc. Typically attending colour irrealism is the error theory (...) of ordinary colour judgement: ordinary judgements in which colour is ascribed to a material object are, strictly speaking, false. In this paper, I claim that colour irrealists who endorse the error theory cannot explain how we acquire colour concepts (yellow, green, etc.), concepts they must acknowledge we do possess. Our basic colour concepts, I argue, could not be phenomenal concepts that we acquire by attending to the colour properties of our experience. And, I explain, all other plausible explanations render colour concepts such that our ordinary colour judgements involving them are often true. Given the explanatory considerations upon which the irrealist's position is based, this is a severe problem for colour irrealism. (shrink)
The reason, according to the contextualist, that precise boundaries for expressions like ‘heap’ or ‘tall for a basketball player’ are so difﬁcult to detect is that when two entities are sufﬁciently similar (or saliently similar), we tend to shift the interpretation of the vague expression so that if one counts as falling in the extension of the property expressed by that expression, so does the other. As a conse- quence, when we look for the boundary of the extension of a (...) vague expression in its penumbra, our very looking has the effect of chang- ing the interpretation of the vague expression so that the boundary is not where we are looking. This accounts for the persuasive force of sorites arguments. (Stanley 2003: 269). (shrink)