The focus of this paper is the prima facie plausible view, expressed by the principle of Counter-Closure, that knowledge-yielding competent deductive inference must issue from known premises. I construct a case that arguably falsifies this principle and consider five available lines of response that might help retain Counter-Closure. I argue that three are problematic. Of the two remaining lines of response, the first relies on non-universal intuitions and forces one to view the case I construct as exhibiting a justified, true (...) belief to which none of the usual diagnoses of knowledge failure in Gettier cases apply. The second line involves claiming that Fake Barns and its ilk are misdiagnosed by epistemological orthodoxy as Gettier cases. We are thus confronted by a trilemma: either the case I discuss undermines the first-blush plausible principle of Counter-Closure; or the case I discuss instantiates a novel kind of Gettier case; or a popular conception of a key range of alleged Gettier cases must be rejected. No matter which horn we choose, the case points to a philosophically curious conclusion. (shrink)
Wishful thinking and self-deception are instances of motivated believing. According to an influential view, the motivated believer is moved by the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain; i.e. the motive of the motivated believer is strictly hedonic--typically, the reduction of anxiety. This anxiety reduction account would, however, appear to face a serious challenge: cases of unwelcome motivated believing [Barnes (1997) Seeing through self-deception, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Scott-Kakures (2000) Motivated believing: wishful and unwelcome, Nous, 34, 348-375] or "twisted" (...) self-deception [Mele (1999) Twisted self-deception, Philosophical Psychology, 12, 117-137]. Annette Barnes (1997) has recently argued that the anxiety reduction account can, in fact, handle such cases. I show that the anxiety reduction account cannot explain cases of unwelcome believing. Neither precipitous unwelcome believing nor the intensive and recurrent testing of unwelcome hypotheses characteristic of cases of self-deception can be explained by such a view. We have reason, then, to reject the notion that the motivated believer is moved by strictly hedonic interests. (shrink)
Micro-interaction dynamics of affective sanctioning have been widely acknowledged but rarely related to the emergence of social phenomena. This paper aims to highlight the constitutive force of interaction activity by critically analysing two sociological models, Bourdieu's theory of practice and Barnes's Performative Theory of Social Institutions (PTSI). Such a comparison allows me to reveal two differing models of social phenomena currently operating in sociological debates: an extrinsic structuralist model which tacitly conveys macro-structural phenomena as prior and determinant of individuals and (...) their micro-interactions, and an intrinsic structuralism model which prioritizes individuals’ interactions and conceives them as constituting both the individual and the structural. I argue that the latter's emphasis on the dynamics of mutual susceptibility to affective sanctioning as underpinning consensus among inherently heterogeneous individuals provides a platform to further support the tenets of Interactionism and helps to expose Bourdieu's over-deterministic methodological individualism prevalent in most sociological theory. I conclude that by conceiving emotions as causal, rather than the effect of social forces, sociological theory can provide an explanation of both individual practices and systemic phenomena which resolves macro-structural tensions. In doing so, I suggest an ontological understanding of the “social” which supports the Interactionist central tenet that the local takes priority over wider structural phenomena. (shrink)
D. Miller's demonstrations of the language dependence of truthlikeness raise a profound problem for the claim that scientific progress is objective. In two recent papers (Barnes 1990, 1991) I argue that the objectivity of progress may be grounded on the claim that the aim of science is not merely truth but knowledge; progress thus construed is objective in an epistemic sense. In this paper I construct a new solution to Miller's problem grounded on the notion of "approximate causal explanation" which (...) allows for linguistically invariant progress outside an epistemic context. I suggest that the notion of "approximate causal explanation" provides the resources for a more robust theory of progress than that provided by the notion of "approximate truth.". (shrink)
Duncan Pritchard has, in the years following his (2005) defence of a safety-based account of knowledge in Epistemic Luck, abjured his (2005) view that knowledge can be analysed exclusively in terms of a modal safety condition. He has since (Pritchard in Synthese 158:277–297, 2007; J Philosophic Res 34:33–45, 2009a, 2010) opted for an account according to which two distinct conditions function with equal importance and weight within an analysis of knowledge: an anti-luck condition (safety) and an ability condition-the latter being (...) a condition aimed at preserving what Pritchard now takes to be a fundamental insight about knowledge: that it arises from cognitive ability (Greco 2010; Sosa 2007, 2009). Pritchard calls his new view anti-luck virtue epistemology (ALVE). A key premise in Pritchard’s argument for ALVE is what I call the independence thesis; the thesis that satisfying neither the anti-luck condition nor the ability condition entails that the other is satisfied. Pritchard’s argument for the independence thesis relies crucially upon the case he makes for thinking that cognitive achievements are compatible with knowledge-undermining environmental luck—that is, the sort of luck widely thought to undermine knowledge in standard barn facade cases. In the first part of this paper, I outline the key steps in Pritchard’s argument for anti-luck virtue epistemology and highlight how it is that the compatibility of cognitive achievement and knowledge- undermining environmental luck is indispensible to the argument’s success. The second part of this paper aims to show that this compatibility premise crucial to Pritchard’s argument is incorrect. (shrink)
Brute facts are facts that have no explanation. If we come to know that a fact is brute, we obviously don’t get an explanation of that fact. Nevertheless, we do make some sort of epistemic gain. In this essay, I give an account of that epistemic gain, and suggest that the idea of brute facts allows us to distinguish between the notion of explanation and the notion of understanding.I also discuss Eric Barnes’ (1994) attack on Friedman’s (1974) version of the (...) unification theory of explanation. The unification theory asserts that scientific understanding results from minimizing the number of brute facts that we have to accept in our view of the world. Barnes claims that the unification theory cannot do justice to the notion of being a brute fact, because it implies that brute facts are gaps in our understanding of the world. I defend Friedman’s theory against Barnes’ critique. (shrink)
This paper gives a critical evaluation of the philosophical presuppositions and implications of two current schools in the sociology of knowledge: the Strong Programme of Bloor and Barnes; and the Constructivism of Latour and Knorr-Cetina. Bloor's arguments for his externalist symmetry thesis (i.e., scientific beliefs must always be explained by social factors) are found to be incoherent or inconclusive. At best, they suggest a Weak Programme of the sociology of science: when theoretical preferences in a scientific community, SC, are first (...) internally explained by appealing to the evidence, e, and the standards or values, V, accepted in SC, then a sociologist may sometimes step in to explain why e and V were accepted in SC. Latour's story about the social construction of facts in scientific laboratories is found to be misleading or incredible. The idea that scientific reality is an artifact turns out to have some interesting affinities with classical pragmatism, instrumentalism, phenomenology, and internal realism. However, the constructivist account of theoretical entities in terms of negotiation and social consensus is less plausible than the alternative realist story which explains consensus by the preexistence of mind-independent real entities. The author concludes that critical scientific realism, developed with the concept of truthlikeness, is compatible with the thesis that scientific beliefs or knowledge claims may be relative to various types of cognitive and practical interests. However, the realist denies, with good reasons, the stronger type of relativism which takes reality and truth to be relative to persons, groups, or social interests. (shrink)
This paper examines the recent shift towards the dominance of the study of philosophy of religion, ethics and critical thinking within religious education in Britain. It explores the impact of the critical realist model, advocated by Andrew Wright and Philip Barnes, in response to prior models of phenomenological religious education, in order to expose the ways in which both approaches can lead to a distorted understanding of the nature of religion. Although the writing of Emmanuel Levinas has been used in (...) support of the critical realist model by Wright, I will consider how his and Slavoj Žižek's writings on the nature of religion might challenge the dominance of the critical realist approach and provide a conceptual framework through which it might be possible to develop an alternative approach to religious education that attends to the complexity, ambiguity and demanding nature of engaging with religious traditions. (shrink)
“The Strong Programme” is put forward as a metaphysical theory of sociology by the Edinburgh School (SSK) to study the social causes of knowledge. Barry Barnes and David Bloor are the proponents of the School. They call their programme “the Relativist View of Knowledge” and argue against rationalism in the philosophy of science. Does their relativist account of knowledge present a serious challenge to rationalism, which has dominated 20th century philosophy of science? I attempt to answer this question by criticizing (...) the main ideas of SSK and defending rationalism theories in modern philosophy of science. (shrink)
Natural realism is the view that there is a real, metaphysical distinction between those properties, perhaps like being a quark, that are natural kinds and those, perhaps like being either red or round that are not. This is a fairly respectable doctrine, though by no means universally accepted. Perhaps slightly less well entrenched is the idea that there is a relation of causal relevance that sometimes holds between a property of a cause and a property of an effect. If causation (...) is a relation between tokens, causal relevance is a relation between types. Finally, there’s the idea that there are many levels. Sometimes, people will talk about the relation between the mental level and the biological or physical level without meaning too much by this. But the straight-faced suggestion that levels are mind-independent features of reality will occasionally raise a skeptical eyebrow. It may be that anyone suspicious about any of these three ideas is suspicious of them all. This is as it should be. I don’t say this because I think the three characters are maximally suspicious, but because the three form a tightly knit family that to a certain extent stand or fall together. If there are natural kinds, then there are real resemblances, or objective similarities between members of those kinds. But not just any similarity counts. There’s at least one respect in which anything three miles from a burning barn is similar to anything else three miles from a burning barn. The similarities that count as far as natural kinds are concerned are causal similarities. Being a member of a natural kind must make a difference to your causal interactions. But the idea of a feature that makes a difference to your causal interactions just is the idea of a causally relevant feature. If you put the white ball into the pocket of an ordinary pool table in a bar, it will come.. (shrink)
Ancient philosophers -- The history of philosophy -- Philosophy within quotation marks? -- Anglophone attitudes -- Brentano's Aristotle -- Heidegger in the cave -- 'There was an old person from Tyre' -- The Presocratics in context -- Argument in ancient philosophy -- Philosophy and dialectic -- Aristotle and the methods of ethics -- Metacommentary -- An introduction to Aspasius -- Parmenides and the Eleatic One -- Reason and necessity in Leucippus -- Plato's cyclical argument -- Death and the philosopher -- (...) Aristotelian arithmetic -- The principle of plenitude -- 'Aristotle's opinion concerning destiny and what is up to us' -- 'Belief is up to us' -- The same again : the Stoics and eternal recurrence -- Bits and pieces -- Partial wholes -- 'Drei Sonnen sah ich ...' : Syrianus and astronomy -- Immaterial causes. (shrink)
I observe Iris Murdoch's distinctive use of the word ‘flux’ in discussion of Sartre's Nausea and show that her usage is persuasive and revolutionary, first as Sartre exegesis, second as Heraclitus exegesis, and throughout as a contribution to the philosophy of language. Murdoch's usage of ‘flux’ frames a comparison of Sartre's Roquentin with other figures who have had similarly flowing experience but without nausea. Roquentin's plight is shown to be ‘a philosopher's plight’ precipitated by a defective theory of descriptive success. (...) I then show how the Heraclitean fragments would support Murdoch's treatment of flux and on close analysis contradict the established view exemplified in the work of Wittgenstein and Jonathan Barnes. Flux is not a variety of change, and the river image ‘cannot be analysed into non-metaphorical components without a loss of substance’. (shrink)
In this paper I propose a solution to the qualitative version of David Miller's verisimilitude reversal argument. Miller (1974) shows that verisimilitude rankings are relative to language choice and hence, are not objective. My solution stems from a reply to an earlier solution proposed by Eric Barnes (1991). Barnes argues that the verisimilitude reversal problem can be solved by revealing an epistemic dimension. I show that Miller's problem cannot be solved by side-stepping foundational metaphysical claims as his epistemic solution suggests. (...) Rather, a substantive metaphysical basis grounds identity relations among properties. The problem of verisimilitude cannot be solved without embracing the fundamental metaphysical distinctions between basic and composite properties that ground the relationship of partial identity among properties. (shrink)
It is often held that according to Aristotle the city is a natural organism. One major reason for this organic interpretation is no doubt that Aristotle describes the relationship between the individual and the city as a part-whole relationship, seemingly the same relationship that holds between the parts of a natural organism and the organism itself. Moreover, some scholars (most notably Jonathan Barnes) believe this view of the city led Aristotle to accept an implicit totalitarianism. I argue, however, that an (...) investigation of the various ways Aristotle describes parts and wholes reveals that for Aristotle the city has a unity (and thus a nature) quite different from that of a natural organism. (shrink)
Primary Works -/- Ryle, Gilbert: The Concept of Mind, Penguin Books, 1978 -/- __________: Dilemmas, Cambridge, at the University Press, 1966. -/- __________: Collected Papers, Edited by Barnes and Noble Vols. I &II, Hutchinson, 1971. -/- __________: On thinking, Edited by K. Kolenda, Oxford: Basil Blackwell Publishers, 1982. -/- __________;Aspects of Mind, Edited by Rene Meyer, Oxford : Blackwell, 1993..
When I was revising _Sensory Qualities_ there was a period of about a year when I set the manuscript aside and did other things. When I returned to it I found that certain portions of the argument had collapsed of their own weight, like an old New England barn, and could be carted off the premises without compunction. Other parts were wobbling on their foundation, while some had weathered well and seemed nice and solid. My revision strategy was simple: I (...) kept just the nice solid bits, thinking that I could go back and work on the wobbly portions later. (shrink)
Abstract This paper attempts to clarify the debate between those philosophers who hold that the development of science is governed by objective standards of rationality and those sociologists of science who deny this. In particular it focuses on the debate over the ?symmetry thesis?. Bloor and Barnes argue that a properly scientific approach to science itself demands that an investigator should seek the same general type of explanation for all decisions and actions by past scientists, quite independently of whether or (...) not she or he happens to agree with those decisions or approve those actions as ?correct? or ?rational?. I try to improve on previous treatments of the ?rationalist? position (by Lakatos, Laudan, Newton?Smith and Brown) and clarify the exact asymmetries to which the ?rationalist? is, and is not, committed. (shrink)
This paper examines Sartre's dualistic ontology in the light of the non-duality asserted by Mahayana Buddhism. In the first section, I show, against the objection of Hazel E. Barnes, that Sartre and Buddhism have comparable theories of consciousness. The second section discusses Steven W. Laycock's use of Zen philosophy to solve the Sartrean metaphysical problem regarding the origin of being for-itself. This solution involves rejecting the ontological priority of being in-itself in favor of the Buddhist understanding of interdependent origination (pratitya-samutpada) (...) and emptiness (sunyata). Finally, I explain how this aspect of Buddhist thought is consistent with Sartre's ontology, thus making an acceptable solution. This consistency is possible if we understand Sartre's ontology as provisionally true in a sense gleaned from the Madhyamika and Yogacara schools of Indian Buddhism, which were influential to the formation of Zen philosophy. (shrink)
Externalism says that many ordinary mental contents are constituted by relations to things outside the mental subject’s head. An infl uential objection says that externalism is incompatible with our commonsense belief in mental causation, because such extrinsic relations cannot play the important causal role in producing behavior that we ordinarily think mental content plays.An extremely common response is that it is simply obvious, from examples of ordinary causal processes, that extrinsic relations can play the desired causal role. In this paper (...) I argue that such examples show no such thing, and that the only reason to think they do is to endorse an unacceptable principle concerning the sufficient conditions for causal efficacy. Internalists might be wrong that externalism is incompatible with mental causation; but the most common defense against that allegation should not move us at all. (shrink)
This work is the latest contribution to the Clarendon Later Ancient Philosophers series edited by Jonathan Barnes and A. A. Long. As with the earlier volumes (John Dillon's Alcinous, The Handbook of Platonism , R. J. Hankinson's Galen, On the Therapeutic Method Books I and II, Richard Bett's Sextus Empiricus, Against the Ethicists , and D. L. Blank's Sextus Empiricus, Against the Grammarians ), D(obbin) provides an introduction, an English translation, and a critical commentary predominantly focused on the philosophical content (...) of the text of an author from the period ranging from the first century BC to the fifth century AD. A bibliography of a dozen earlier editions of E(pictetus), a painstaking bibliography of secondary literature, an index nominum, a generous index locorum, and a brief subject index are also included. Overall this edition maintains the high standards characteristic of the CLAP series. (shrink)
This work is the latest contribution to the Clarendon Later Ancient Philosophers series edited by Jonathan Barnes and A. A. Long. As with the earlier volumes (John Dillon's Alcinous, The Handbook of Platonism , R. J. Hankinson's Galen, On the Therapeutic Method Books I and II, Richard Bett's Sextus Empiricus, Against the Ethicists, and D. L. Blank's Sextus Empiricus, Against the Grammarians), D(obbin) provides an introduction, an English translation, and a critical commentary predominantly focused on the philosophical content of the (...) text of an author from the period ranging from the first century BC to the fifth century AD. A bibliography of a dozen earlier editions of E(pictetus), a painstaking bibliography of secondary literature, an index nominum, a generous index locorum, and a brief subject index are also included. Overall this edition maintains the high standards characteristic of the CLAP series. (shrink)
This essay represents a critical reading, appreciation and assessment of responses written by Susan Abraham, Conrad T. Gromada, and Michael Barnes to my book On Being Human: U.S Hispanic and Rahnerian Perspectives (Orbis Books, 2001). The essay addresses the following three themes: 1) Rahner’s Ignatian heritage and its relation to the U.S. Hispanic appropriation of the preferential option for the poor and marginalized, 2) Rahner’s understanding of one mediator and many human mediations, and 3) Rahner’s transcendental theological approach in relation (...) to the experience of contemporary manifestations of atheism in the U.S. These themes highlight aspects of my book that Abraham, Gromada, and Barnes found fertile ground for engaging in theological conversation. First, with respect to Rahner’s Ignatian spirituality, I argue that the Ignatian understanding of indiferencia can be correlated with the preferential option for the poor and marginalized. Second, with respect to Rahner’s understanding of one mediator and many mediations, I explore other ways in which my book could contextualize Rahner’s approach. Finally, I underscore the historical moment in Rahner’s transcendental theological approach (the mystery of God encountered in, with, and under historical realities) and point to a contemporary implication of this understanding (e.g., practical atheism). (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to point out significant and meaningful overlapping between several styles of scientific thinking, as they were proposed by Crombie (1981) and discussed by Hacking (1985; 2009). This paper is divided in four sections. First, I examine an interpretation made by Barnes (2004) about the incompatibility among scientific styles. As explained by its author, this interpretation denies any possibility of similarities between styles of scientific reasoning. In opposition, the following sections of this paper include explanations (...) of relevant characteristics of Geometry, as stated in Euclid's Elements, which are also present in other three scientific styles: modeling, experimental exploration and taxonomic style (and some of the shared characteristics are even used to define such styles). By stressing out these characteristics I argue that these four styles discussed by Hacking are not so different from each other, in fact, they overlap and may even be abridged into one foundational style: geometric. El objetivo de este artículo consiste en explicar traslapes importantes y significativos entre varios estilos de pensamiento científico, tal como fueron propuestos por Crombie (1981) y discutidos por Hacking (1985; 2009). El presente artículo está dividido en cuatro secciones. Primero, se examina la interpretación de Barnes (2004) sobre la incompatibilidad entre diversos estilos. Según este autor, no existe posibilidad alguna de encontrar similitudes en los estilos de razonamiento científico. En oposición a esta interpretación, las siguientes secciones explican características relevantes de la Geometría, tal como fueron plasmadas en Los Elementos de Euclides, y que están presentes en otros tres estilos: de modelación, de experimentación y taxonómico (las características compartidas incluso definen algunos de estos estilos). Destacar estas características me permite argumentar que estos cuatro estilos discutidos por Hacking no son tan diferentes entre sí, de hecho, se traslapan e incluso pueden ser condensados en un estilo fundacional: el geométrico. (shrink)
Examino Acerca del cielo (De caelo) I 2 con el fin de mostrar allí la presencia de la demostración científica. Este desarrollo pretende aportar nueva evidencia en favor de la no discrepancia entre teoría y praxis científica en Aristóteles (Barnes, 1969) y de relativizar la interpretación de que el método real y únicamente usado es la dialéctica (cuyo antecedente se remonta a Owen, 1980). Además, siguiendo la propuesta hermenéutica de Gotthelf (1987) y Detel (1993 y 1997), mostraré de qué modo (...) se utiliza la demostración científica en la prueba de la existencia del cuerpo simple o éter. Ofreceré también una reconstrucción de las pruebas mediante la elaboración de un esquema que abarque el conjunto de las deducciones. Estos últimos desarrollos constituyen el aporte más novedoso del presente artículo. I examine On the Heavens (DC) 12 in order to show there the presence of scientific demonstration. This development tries to contribute new evidence in favor of the not discrepancy between theory and scientific practice in Aristotle (Barnes, 1969) and to make the interpretation that method real and solely used is dialectic relative (whose precedent goes back to Owen, 1980). In addition, following the hermeneutic proposal of Gotthelf (1987) and Detel (1993 and 1997), I will show how scientific demonstration is used in the proof of simple body (ether) existence. I will offer also a reconstruction of the proof by means of the elaboration of a scheme that includes the set of deductions. The latter developments constitute the most new contribution of the present paper. (shrink)
Clarendon Later Ancient Philosophers -/- General Editors: Professor Jonathan Barnes, Balliol College, Oxford, and Professor A. A. Long, University of California, Berkeley -/- This series, which is modelled on the familiar Clarendon Aristotle and Clarendon Plato Series, is designed to encourage philosophers and students of philosophy to explore the fertile terrain of later ancient philosophy. The texts will range in date from the first century BC to the fifth century AD, and they will cover all the parts and all the (...) schools of philosophy. Each volume will contain a substantial introduction, an English translation, and a critical commentary on the philosophical claims and arguments of the text. The translations will aim primarily at accuracy and fidelity; but they will also be readable and accompanied by notes on textual problems that affect the philosophical interpretation. No knowledge of Greek or Latin will be assumed. -/- Galen's On the Therapeutic Method, written late in his life, represents the distillation in its most complete form of Galen's views on the nature, genesis, proper classification, and treatment of disease. It was one of the most widely read of all classical texts during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and formed the core of the medical curriculum until the seventeenth century. Although still deeply influential in the nineteenth century, it has been unjustly neglected in modern times. The work contains a fascinating collection of views on scientific terminology and taxonomy, the application of the logical methods of collection and division to science, the axiomatization of science, and the structure of causation. Consequently it is a key text in later Greek philosophy of science. -/- R. J. Hankinson provides here the first translation into any modern language of the first two books, together with an introduction and a philosophical commentary. (shrink)
Many writers in various fields--philosophy, religion, literature, and psychology--believe that the question of the meaning of life is one of the most significant problems that an individual faces. In The Meaning of Life, Second Edition, E.D. Klemke collects some of the best writings on this topic, primarily works by philosophers but also selections from literary figures and religious thinkers. The twenty-seven cogent, readable essays are organized around three different perspectives on the meaning of life. In Part I, the readings assert (...) and defend the theistic view that without the existence of God--or faith in God--life has no significance or purpose. In Part II the selections deny this thesis, defending instead the humanistic alternative--that life has or can have meaning and worth without any theistic beliefs or commitment. In the final group of readings, contributors ask if the question of the meaning of life is in itself legitimate and significant. The volume also includes an introduction by the editor and a selected bibliography. This new edition adds essays by A. J. Ayer, Hazel Barnes, William Lane Craig, Owen Flanagan, Antony Flew, Thomas Nagel, Kai Nielsen, Philip L. Quinn, Arthur Schopenhauer, and Walter T. Stace. The only anthology of its kind, The Meaning of Life, Second Edition, is ideal for courses in introduction to philosophy and human nature. It also provides an accessible and stimulating introduction to the subject for general readers. (shrink)
? A paper read to the Manchester and Liverpool branches of the Philosophy of Education Society. I am indebted to Dr D. N. Aspin, Mr D. R. Barnes, Mr A. Brittan, Mr A. G. Davey, Mr A. Griffiths and Mr H. T. Sockett for their comments on an earlier version of this paper.
The classical view of the relationship between necessity and apriority, defended by Leibniz and Kant, is that all necessary truths are known a priori. The classical view is now almost universally rejected, ever since Saul Kripke and Hilary Putnam discovered that there are necessary truths that are known only a posteriori. However, in recent years a new debate has emerged over the epistemology of these necessary a posteriori truths. According to one view – call it the neo-classical view – knowledge (...) of a necessary truth always depends on at least one item of a priori knowledge. According to the rival view – call it the neoempiricist view – our knowledge of necessity is sometimes broadly empirical. In this paper I present and defend an argument against the neo-empiricist view. I argue that knowledge of the necessity of a necessary truth could not be broadly empirical. (shrink)
In this paper I develop a framework for understanding ontic vagueness. The project of the paper is two-fold. I first outline a definitional account of ontic vagueness – one that I think is an improvement on previous attempts because it remains neutral on other, independent metaphysical issues. I then develop one potential manifestation of that basic definitional structure. This is a more robust (and much less neutral) account which gives a fully classical explication of ontic vagueness via modal concepts. The (...) overarching aim is to systematically investigate the puzzling question of what exactly it could be for the world itself to be vague. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue for a new way of characterizing ontological emergence. I appeal to recent discussions in meta-ontology regarding fundamentality and dependence, and show how emergence can be simply and straightforwardly characterized using these notions. I then argue that many of the standard problems for emergence do not apply to this account: given a clearly specified meta-ontological background, emergence becomes much easier to explicate. If my arguments are successful, they show both a helpful way of thinking about emergence (...) and the potential utility of discussions in meta-ontology when applied to first-order metaphysics. (shrink)
abstract In this paper I develop a characterization of disability according to which disability is in no way a sub-optimal feature. I argue, however, that this conception of disability is compatible with the idea that having a disability is, at least in a restricted sense, a harm. I then go on to argue that construing disability in this way avoids many of the common objections levelled at accounts which claim that disability is not a negative feature.
In this paper I argue that Gareth Evans’ famous proof of the impossibility of de re indeterminate identity fails on a counterpart-theoretic interpretation of the determinacy operators. I attempt to motivate a counterpart-theoretic reading of the determinacy operators and then show that, understood counterpart-theoretically, Evans’ argument is straightforwardly invalid.
Knowledge can be transmitted by a valid deductive inference. If I know that p, and I know that if p then q, then I can infer that q, and I can thereby come to know that q. What feature of a valid deductive inference enables it to transmit knowledge? In some cases, it is a proof of validity that grounds the transmission of knowledge. If the subject can prove that her inference follows a valid rule, then her inference transmits knowledge. (...) However, this only pushes the question back to the inference that was made in this proof. What feature of that inference enables it to transmit knowledge? A vicious regress looms here. Every proof requires a valid inference, and every valid inference must follow at least one rule of inference. So every proof must follow at least one rule of inference. Therefore not every valid inference that transmits knowledge can acquire this power through a proof, on pain of vicious infinite regress. So it must be possible to transmit knowledge by making an inference that follows an underived rule. A deductive inference that follows an underived rule is what I will call a basic deductive inference. It must be possible to transmit knowledge by making a basic deductive inference. But how is this possible? What feature of a basic deductive inference gives it this power to transmit knowledge? (shrink)
This paper considers the question of what knowing a logical rule consists in. I defend the view that knowing a logical rule is having propositional knowledge. Many philosophers reject this view and argue for the alternative view that knowing a logical rule is, at least at the fundamental level, having a disposition to infer according to it. To motivate this dispositionalist view, its defenders often appeal to Carroll’s regress argument in ‘What the Tortoise Said to Achilles’. I show that this (...) dispositionalist view, and the regress that supposedly motivates it, operate with the wrong picture of what is involved in knowing a logical rule. In particular I show that it gives us the wrong picture of the relation between knowing a logical rule and actions of inferring according to it, as well as of the way in which knowing a logical rule might be a priori. (shrink)
The quantitative problem of old evidence is the problem of how to measure the degree to which e confirms h for agent A at time t when A regards e as justified at t. Existing attempts to solve this problem have applied the e-difference approach, which compares A's probability for h at t with what probability A would assign h if A did not regard e as justified at t. The quantitative problem has been widely regarded as unsolvable primarily on (...) the grounds that the e-difference approach suffers from intractable problems. Various philosophers have proposed that 'Bayesianism' should be rejected as a research strategy in confirmation theory in part because of the unsolvability of this problem. I develop a version of the e-difference approach which overcomes these problems and possesses various advantages (but also certain limitations). I develop an alternative 'theistic' approach which handles many cases that my development of the e-difference approach does not handle. I conclude with an assessment of the significance of the quantitative problem for Bayesianism and argue that this problem is misunderstood in so far as it is regarded as unsolvable, and in so far as it is regarded as a problem only for Bayesians. (shrink)
The miracle argument for scientific realism can be cast in two forms: according to the miraculous theory argument, realism is the only position which does not make the empirical successes of particular theories miraculous. According to the miraculous choice argument, realism is the only position which does not render the fact that empirically successful theories have been chosen a miracle. A vast literature discusses the miraculous theory argument, but the miraculous choice argument has been unjustifiably neglected. I raise two objections (...) to Richard Boyd's defense of the latter: (1) we have no miracle free account of the emergence of take-off theories and (2) the anti-realist can account for the non-miraculous choice of empirically successful theories by attributing mere empirical adequacy to background theory. I argue that the availability of extra-empirical criteria that are arguably truth conductive but not theory-laden suffices to answer (1), and the unavailability of extra-empirical criteria that are conductive to empirical adequacy but not necessarily to truth (and are also not theory-laden) constitutes to reply to (2). The prospects for a realist victory are at least somewhat promising, on a controversial assumption about the rate at which empirically successful theories emerge. (shrink)
In this paper I respond to Trenton Merricks's (2005) paper ‘Composition and Vagueness’. I argue that Merricks's paper faces the following difficulty: he claims to provide independent motivation for denying one of the premisses of the Lewis-Sider vagueness argument for unrestricted composition, but the alleged motivation he provides begs the question.
This thesis is a systematic investigation of whether there might be conceptual room for the idea that the world itself might be vague, independently of how we describe it. This idea – the existence of so-called ontic vagueness – has generally been extremely unpopular in the literature; my thesis thus seeks to evaluate whether this ‘negative press’ is justified. I start by giving a working definition and semantics for ontic vagueness, and then attempt to show that there are no conclusive (...) arguments that rule out vagueness of this kind. I subsequently establish what type of arguments I think would be most effective in establishing ontic vagueness and provide some arguments of this form. I then highlight a potential worry for this type of argument, but argue that it can be circumvented. Finally, I consider the main ways that the opponent of ontic vagueness would be likely resist the arguments I have offered, and argue that these strategies of response are methodologically problematic. I conclude by claiming that ontic vagueness is a perfectly plausible ontological commitment. (shrink)
In recent literature on vagueness, writers have noted that more ‘plentiful’ theories of properties – those that postulate genuine properties corresponding to the classically vague predicates like ‘bald’ and ‘heap’ – appear straightforwardly committed to ontic vagueness. In this paper, however, I will argue that worries of ontic vagueness are not specific to ‘plentiful’ accounts of properties. The classically ‘sparse’ theories of properties – Universals and tropes – will, I contend, be subject to similar difficulties.
Sider (Four-dimensionalism 2001; Philos Stud 114:135–146, 2003; Nous 43:557–567, 2009) has developed an influential argument against indeterminacy in existence. In what follows, I argue that the defender of metaphysical forms of indeterminate existence has a unique way of responding to Sider’s argument. The response I’ll offer is interesting not only for its applicability to Sider’s argument, but also for its broader implications; responding to Sider helps to show both how we should think about precisification in the context of metaphysical indeterminacy (...) and how we should understand commitment to metaphysically indeterminate existence. And if I’m right that metaphysical indeterminacy can allow for indeterminate existence in a way that semantic indeterminacy can’t, indeterminate existence might actually give us a reason to accept metaphysical indeterminacy (rather than a reason to reject it, as is commonly assumed). (shrink)
In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in property dualism—the view that some mental properties are neither identical with, nor strongly supervenient on, physical properties. One of the principal objections to this view is that, according to natural science, the physical world is a causally closed system. So if mental properties are really distinct from physical properties, then it would seem that mental properties never really cause anything that happens in the physical world. Thus, dualism threatens to (...) lead inexorably to epiphenomenalism. In this paper, I will argue that the only way for a property dualist to avoid epiphenomenalism is to deny that the human body is strictly identical with the sum of its microphysical parts. I will go on to argue that the only way to sustain such anti-reductionism about the human body is to embrace some sort of substance-hylomorphism. (shrink)
This paper proposes a solution to David Miller's Minnesotan-Arizonan demonstration of the language dependence of truthlikeness (Miller 1974), along with Miller's first-order demonstration of the same (Miller 1978). It is assumed, with Peter Urbach, that the implication of these demonstrations is that the very notion of truthlikeness is intrinsically language dependent and thus non-objective. As such, truthlikeness cannot supply a basis for an objective account of scientific progress. I argue that, while Miller is correct in arguing that the number of (...) true atomic sentences of a false theory is language dependent, the number of known sentences (under certain straightforward assumptions) is conserved by translation; degree of knowledge, unlike truthlikeness, is thus a linguistically invariant notion. It is concluded that the objectivity of scientific progress must be grounded on the fact (noted in Cohen 1980) that knowledge, not mere truth, is the aim of science. (shrink)
Philip Kitcher has proposed a theory of explanation based on the notion of unification. Despite the genuine interest and power of the theory, I argue here that the theory suffers from a fatal deficiency: It is intrinsically unable to account for the asymmetric structure of explanation, and thus ultimately falls prey to a problem similar to the one which beset Hempel's D-N model. I conclude that Kitcher is wrong to claim that one can settle the issue of an argument's explanatory (...) force merely on the basis of considerations about the unifying power of the argument pattern the argument instantiates. (shrink)
The theory of explanatory unification was first proposed by Friedman (1974) and developed by Kitcher (1981, 1989). The primary motivation for this theory, it seems to me, is the argument that this account of explanation is the only account that correctly describes the genesis of scientific understanding. Despite the apparent plausibility of Friedman's argument to this effect, however, I argue here that the unificationist thesis of understanding is false. The theory of explanatory unification as articulated by Friedman and Kitcher thus (...) emerges as fundamentally misconceived. (shrink)
I aim to show that one way of testing the mettle of a theory of scientific explanation is to inquire what that theory entails about the status of brute facts. Here I consider the nature of brute facts, and survey several contemporary accounts of explanation vis a vis this subject (the Friedman-Kitcher theory of explanatory unification, Humphreys' causal theory of explanation, and Lipton's notion of 'explanatory loveliness'). One problem with these accounts is that they seem to entail that brute (...) facts represent a gap in scientific understanding. I argue that brute facts are non-mysterious and indeed are even explainable by the lights of Salmon's ontic conception of explanation (which I endorse here). The plausibility of various models of explanation, I suggest, depends to some extent on the tendency of their proponents to focus on certain examples of explananda - I ponder brute facts qua explananda here as a way of helping us to recognize this dependency. (shrink)
Predictivism asserts that novel confirmations carry special probative weight. Epistemic pluralism asserts that the judgments of agents (about, e.g., the probabilities of theories) carry epistemic import. In this paper, I propose a new theory of predictivism that is tailored to pluralistic evaluators of theories. I replace the orthodox notion of use-novelty with a notion of endorsement-novelty, and argue that the intuition that predictivism is true has two roots. I provide a detailed Bayesian rendering of this theory and argue that pluralistic (...) theory evaluation pervades scientific practice. I compare my account of predictivism with those of Maher and Worrall. (shrink)
A pluralistic scientific method is one that incorporates a variety of points of view in scientific inquiry. This paper investigates one example of pluralistic method: the use of weighted averaging in probability estimation. I consider two methods of weight determination, one based on disjoint evidence possession and the other on track record. I argue that weighted averaging provides a rational procedure for probability estimation under certain conditions. I consider a strategy for calculating ‘mixed weights’ which incorporate mixed information about agent (...) credibility. I address various objections to the weighted averaging technique and conclude that the technique is a promising one in various respects. (shrink)
provides a sustained and ambitious development of the basic idea that knowledge is true belief that tracks the truth. In this essay, I provide a quick synopsis of Roush's book and offer a substantive discussion of her analysis of scientific evidence. Roush argues that, for e to serve as evidence for h, it should be easier to determine the truth value of e than it is to determine the truth value of h, an ideal she refers to as leverage. She (...) defends a detailed method by which the value of p(h/e) is computed without direct information about p(h) but only using evidence about the value of p(e), from which the value of p(h) is derived. She presents an example of how to use her leverage method, which I argue involves a certain critical mistake. I show how the leveraging method can be used in a way that is sound—I conclude with a few remarks about the importance of distinguishing clearly between prior and posterior probabilities. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
In a recent address to the American Catholic Philosophical Association, Alfred Freddoso has claimed that dualism is both religiously and morally pernicious. He contends that dualism runs afoul of the Catholic teaching that the soul is the form of the body, and that dualism leaves the body with nothing more than instrumental moral worth. On the contrary, I argue that dualism per se is neither religiously nor morally pernicious. Dualism is compatible with a rich teleology of embodiment that will underwrite (...) all of the same moral insights about the body that traditional hylomorphism supports. (shrink)
Predictivism asserts that where evidence E confirms theory T, E provides stronger support for T when E is predicted on the basis of T and then confirmed than when E is known before T's construction and 'used', in some sense, in the construction of T. Among the most interesting attempts to argue that predictivism is a true thesis (under certain conditions) is that of Patrick Maher (1988, 1990, 1993). The purpose of this paper is to investigate the nature of predictivism (...) using Maher's analysis as a starting point. I briefly summarize Maher's primary argument and expand upon it; I explore related issues pertaining to the causal structure of empirical domains and the logic of discovery. (shrink)
Predictivism asserts that novel confirmations carry special probative weight. Epistemic pluralism asserts that the judgments of agents (about, e.g., the probabilities of theories) carry epistemic import. In this paper, I propose a new theory of predictivism that is tailored to pluralistic evaluators of theories. I replace the orthodox notion of use-novelty with a notion of endorsement-novelty, and argue that the intuition that predictivism is true has two roots. I provide a detailed Bayesian rendering of this theory and argue that pluralistic (...) theory evaluation pervades scientific practice. I compare my account of predictivism with those of Maher and Worrall. Introduction Why construction is a red herring for pluralist evaluators The unvirtuous accommodator Virtuous endorsers and the two roots of predictivism The two roots in Bayesian terms: the priors and background beliefs of endorsers Who are the pluralist evaluators? Two contemporary theories of predictivism 7.1 Maher: Reliable methods of theory construction 7.2 Worrall: The confirmation of core ideas Conclusion. (shrink)
Predictivism holds that, where evidence E confirms theory T, E confirms T more strongly when E is predicted on the basis of T and subsequently confirmed than when E is known in advance of T's formulation and used, in some sense, in the formulation of T. Predictivism has lately enjoyed some strong supporting arguments from Maher (1988, 1990, 1993) and Kahn, Landsberg, and Stockman (1992). Despite the many virtues of the analyses these authors provide it is my view that they (...) (along with all other authors on this subject) have failed to understand a fundamental truth about predictivism: the existence of a scientist who predicted T prior to the establishment that E is true has epistemic import for T (once E is established) only in connection with information regarding the social milieu in which the T-predictor is located and information regarding how the T-predictor was located. The aim of this paper is to show that predictivism is ultimately a social phenomenon that requires a social level of analysis, a thesis I deem social predictivism. (shrink)
Sherrilyn Roush's Tracking Truth provides a sustained and ambitious development of the basic idea that knowledge is true belief that tracks the truth. In this essay, I provide a quick synopsis of Roush's book and offer a substantive discussion of her analysis of scientific evidence. Roush argues that, for e to serve as evidence for h, it should be easier to determine the truth value of e than it is to determine the truth value of h, an ideal she refers (...) to as 'leverage'. She defends a detailed method by which the value of p(h/e) is computed without 'direct' information about p(h) but only using evidence about the value of p(e), from which the value of p(h) is derived. She presents an example of how to use her leverage method, which I argue involves a certain critical mistake. I show how the leveraging method can be used in a way that is sound--I conclude with a few remarks about the importance of distinguishing clearly between prior and posterior probabilities. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: English translation of the 2nd/3rd century Peripatetic Philosopher's Alexander of Aphrodisias commentary on Aristotle's non-modal syllogistic, i.e. on one of the most influential logical texts of all times. -/- Volume includes introduction on Alexander of Aphrodisias and the early commentators, translation with notes and comments, appendices with a new translation of Aristotle's text, a summary of Aristotle's non-modal syllogistic and textual notes.
The role of philosophy as a valued and effective part of the culture of civilized Romans has aroused an increasing amount of scholarly interest in recent years. In this volume, which gathers together nine papers delivered at a series of seminars on philosophy and Roman society in the University of Oxford, scholars of classical literature, Roman history, and ancient philosophy investigate the place of Platonism and Aristotelianism in Roman intellectual, cultural, and political life from the second century BC to the (...) third century AD. In addition to chapters on such important figures as Cicero, Varro, Plutarch, Favorinus, Celsus, and Porphyry, the book contains essays on the tradition of Aristotle's library at Rome, the theory of the mixed constitution, and the anonymous commentary on Plato's Theaetetus. -/- It thus forms a complement to Philosophia Togata I which addressed the importance of the doctrines of the Hellenistic schools to Roman society during the first century BC. (shrink)