Ulrich Beck's best selling Risk Society established risk on the sociological agenda. It brought together a wide range of issues centering on environmental, health and personal risk, provided a rallying ground for researchers and activists in a variety of social movements and acted as a reference point for state and local policies in risk management. The Risk Society and Beyond charts the progress of Beck's ideas and traces their evolution. It demonstrates why the issues raised by Beck (...) reverberate widely throughout social theory and covers the new risks that Beck did not foresee, associated with the emergence of new technologies, genetic and cybernetic. The book is unique because it offers both an introduction to the main arguments in Risk Society and develops a range of critical discussions of aspects of this and other works of Beck. (shrink)
This paper aims to study the concept of “fact of reason”, with the assistance Beck as North on the stage of transcendental philosophy, more specifically its basic Kantian approach, continuing to explore the potential of the above since the contributions of Guido de Almeida and Loparic.
Martha Nussbaum has argued in support of the view (supposedly that of Aristotle) that we can, through thought-experiments involving personal identity, find an objective foundation for moral thought without having to appeal to any authority independent of morality. I compare the thought-experiment from Plato’s Philebus that she presents as an example to other thought-experiments involving identity in the literature and argue that this reveals a tension between the sources of authority which Nussbaum invokes for her thought-experiment. I also argue that (...) each of her sources of authority presents further difficulties for her project. Finally, I argue that it is not clear that her thought-experiment is one that actually involves identity in any crucial way. As a result, the case she offers does not offer any satisfactory support for her view on the relation between identity, morality and thought-experiments, but we do gain some insights into what that relation really is along the way. (shrink)
Philosophers have traditionally used thought-experiments in their endeavours to find a satisfactory account of the self and personal identity. Yet there are considerations from empirical psychology as well as related ones from philosophy itself that appear to completely undermine the method of thought-experiment. This paper focuses on both sets of considerations and attempts a defence of the method.
In reaching his narrative view of the self in Oneself as Another, Paul Ricoeur argues that, while literature offers revealing insights into the nature of the self, the sort of fictions involving brain transplants, fission, and so on, that philosophers often take seriously do not (and cannot). My paper is a response to Ricoeur's charge, contending that the arguments Ricoeur rejects are not flawed in the way he suggests, and that his own arguments are sometimes guilty of the very charges (...) he lays at the door of his opponents. (shrink)
According to the Generality Constraint, mental states with conceptual content must be capable of recombining in certain systematic ways. Drawing on empirical evidence from cognitive science, I argue that so-called analogue magnitude states violate this recombinability condition and thus have nonconceptual content. I further argue that this result has two significant consequences: it demonstrates that nonconceptual content seeps beyond perception and infiltrates cognition; and it shows that whether mental states have nonconceptual content is largely an empirical matter determined by the (...) structure of the neural representations underlying them. (shrink)
Marya Schechtman's The Constitution of Selves presented an impressive attempt to persuade those working on personal identity to give up mainstream positions and take on a narrative view instead. More recently, she has presented new arguments with a closely related aim. She attempts to convince us to give up the view of identity as a matter of psychological continuity, using Derek Parfit's story of the “Nineteenth Century Russian” as a central example in making the case against Parfit's own view, and (...) offers a form of narrative theory as a way out of the problem. In this paper I consider this new case, and argue that we should not be persuaded towards the narrative. (shrink)
The view that an account of personal identity can be provided in terms of psychological continuity has come under fire from an interesting new angle in recent years. Critics from a variety of rival positions have argued that it cannot adequately explain what makes psychological states co-personal (i.e. the states of a single person). The suggestion is that there will inevitably be examples of states that it wrongly ascribes using only the causal connections available to it. In this paper, I (...) describe three distinct attacks on the psychological continuity theory along these lines. While I acknowledge that a number of interesting issues arise, I argue that the theory can withstand all three attacks. (shrink)
This paper surveys and evaluates the answers that philosophers and animal researchers have given to two questions. Do animals have thoughts? If so, are their thoughts conceptual? Along the way, special attention is paid to distinguish debates of substance from mere battles over terminology, and to isolate fruitful areas for future research.
While theories about interpreting biblical and other parables have long realised the importance of readers’ responses to the topic, recent results in social psychology concerning systematic self-deception raise unforeseen problems. In this paper I first set out some of the problems these results pose for the authority of fictional thought-experiments in moral philosophy. I then consider the suggestion that biblical parables face the same problems and as a result cannot work as devices for moral or religious instruction in the way (...) that they are usually understood to work. I examine a number of influential theories about interpretation of the parables which might appear to deflect the problems, and argue that none of them are ultimately successful in doing so. (shrink)
Eric Olson argues in The Human Animal that thought-experiments involving body-swapping do not in the end offer any support to psychological continuity theories, nor do they pose any threat to his Biological View. I argue that he is mistaken in at least the second claim.
In this paper I discuss a set of problems concerning the method of cases as it is used in applied ethics and in the metaphysical debate about personal identity. These problems stem from research in social psychology concerning our access to the data with which the method operates. I argue that the issues facing ethics are more worrying than those facing metaphysics.
Abstract. A special legal status is accorded to human rights within Western liberal democracies: They enjoy a priority over other human goods and are not subjected to the majoritarian principle. The underlying assumption—the idea that there are some human values that deserve special protection—implies the need for both a normative and a conceptual justification. This paper claims that neither can be provided. The normative justification is needed to support the priority of human rights over other human goods and to rank (...) and balance conflicting human rights, but it can't be provided because of the fact of pervasive value pluralism, the fact that human values are many, incompatible and incommensurable. The conceptual justification is needed to avoid arbitrariness in the interpretation of human rights at the adjudication stage. Such a justification is impossible, however, as the concept of human rights, and the concepts used to justify them and to solve their conflicts are "essentially contested concepts." The paper concludes that, provided that the interpretation of human rights presupposes value judgements and political choices, the special legal status accorded to human rights is not justified. (shrink)
Realists about animal cognition confront a puzzle. If animals have real, contentful cognitive states, why can’t anyone say precisely what the contents of those states are? I consider several possible resolutions to this puzzle that are open to realists, and argue that the best of these is likely to appeal to differences in the format of animal cognition and human language.
This paper examines the effect that focus has on repetitive versus restitutive again. It is argued that a pragmatic explanation of the effect is the right strategy. The explanation builds largely on a standard focus semantics. To this we add an anaphoric analysis of again’s presupposition and a detailed analysis of the alternatives triggered when focus falls on again.
This paper is a re-reading of Colin Radford's paper 'The Umpire's Dilemma', published in Analysis in 1985. It argues that Radford's dilemma has been unjustly ignored and has interesting (and problematic) implications for both intuitionism and Ronald Dworkin's constructive interpretationist jurisprudence.
Susan Carey’s account of bootstrapping aims to explain how important new concepts are learned. After arguing that Carey’s own formulations of bootstrapping fail in this aim, I critically evaluate three reformulations of bootstrapping that may have a better chance at success.
Background:The belief that we can control our thoughts is not inevitably adaptive, particularly when it fuels mental control activities that have ironic unintended consequences. The conviction that the mind can and should be controlled can prompt people to suppress unwanted thoughts, and so can set the stage for the intrusive return of those very thoughts. An important question is whether or not these beliefs about the control of thoughts can be reduced experimentally. One possibility is that behavioral experiments aimed at (...) revealing the ironic return of suppressed thoughts might create a lesson that could reduce unrealistic beliefs about the control of thoughts. Aims: The present research assessed the influence of the thought suppression demonstration on beliefs about the control of thoughts in a non-clinical sample, and among individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Method: In Study 1, we assessed the effect of the thought suppression demonstration on beliefs about the control of thoughts among low and high obsessive individuals in the non-clinical population (N= 62). In Study 2, we conducted a similar study with individuals with OCD (N= 29). Results: Results suggest that high obsessive individuals in the non-clinical population are able to learn the futility of suppression through.. (shrink)