Machine generated contents note: Introduction Alan Berger; Part I. Naming, Necessity, Identity, and A Priority: 1. Kripke on proper and general names Bernard Linsky; 2. Kripke on vacuous names and names in fiction Nathan Salmon; 3. Kripke on epistemic and modal possibility: two routes to the necessary a posteriori Scott Soames; 4. Possible world semantics and its philosophic foundations Robert Stalnaker; Part II. Formal Semantics, Truth, Philosophy of Math, and Philosophy of Logic: 5. Kripke models for modal logic and intuitionism (...) John Burgess; 6. Kripke's theory of truth John Burgess; 7. Kripke on logicism, Wittgenstein, and de re beliefs about numbers Mark Steiner; 8. Kripke on the incoherency of adopting a logic Alan Berger; Part III. Language and Mind: 9. Kripke's new puzzle about belief and our principles of belief attribution Mark Richard; 10.; A note on Kripke's puzzle about belief Nathan Salmon; 11. Kripke's version of Wittgenstein: some conceptions and misconceptions George Wilson; 12. Kripke on color words and the primary, secondary quality distinction Mario Gomez-Torrente; Part IV. Philosophy of Mind and Philosophical Psychology: 13. Kripke's views on carteisianism and naturalism Sydney Shoemaker; 14. Kripke's critique of functionalism JeffBuechner. (shrink)
In his new book on Pascal's Wager, Jeff Jordan argues that only the ‘Jamesian’ version of the wager argument, as he sees it presented in William James' essay The Will to Believe , constitutes a sound pragmatic argument in favour of theism, whereas Pascal's original wager argument is doomed to fail on various grounds. This article argues that Jordan's theory is untenable. The many-gods objection is used as an example: it is demonstrated that the Jamesian Wager argument too is (...) powerless to rebut this objection. (shrink)
The main aim of Jeff McMahan's manuscript on the morality of war is to answer the question: why and accordingly when is it justified or permissible to kill people in war? However, McMahan argues that the same principles apply to individual actions and to war. McMahan rejects all doctrines of collective responsibility and liability. His claim is that every individual is liable for what he has done and not for the actions of others - even if both are part (...) of the same collective. Accordingly, McMahan challenges the common view that it is much easier to justify killing in war compared to killing in other contexts. Therefore, the scope of his project exceeds the context of war and extends to interpersonal conflicts between individuals that do not qualify as war. Many of McMahan's main claims are appealing. Particularly, appealing is his rejection of the collectivist account of war. Indeed, it seems that the simple story according to which people are responsible solely for their actions - rather than (also) to the actions of others - should be held on until a different, more complex, account of collective responsibility is put forward and its plausibility is explained. Therefore, the article focuses on the general principles advocated by McMahan with regard to the resolution of all interpersonal conflicts: Whether these conflicts are small scale or large scale (that is, whether few or a many people are involved in the conflict), and within the latter category of conflicts involving many people, whether these conflicts qualify as war (according to some standard) or not. (shrink)
This essay responds to Jeff Malpas's foregoing article, itself written in response to my various publications over the past two decades concerning Donald Davidson's ideas about truth, meaning, and interpretation. It has to do mainly with our disagreement as regards the substantive content of Davidson's truth-based semantic approach in relation to the problematic legacy of logical empiricism, including Quine's incisive but no less problematical critique of that legacy. I also raise questions with respect to Malpas's coupling of Davidson with (...) Heidegger, intended to provide a more adequate depth-ontological grounding for the formalized (logico-semantic) conception of truth that Davidson adopts from Tarski. My essay then argues the case for an outlook of objectivist causal realism joined with a theory of inference to the best, most rational explanation that would satisfy this need in more philosophically (as well as scientifically) accountable terms. (shrink)
Can we interpret human reason simultaneously as a product of neurochemistry and natural selection and as a transcendental standard? Jeff Mason asks the analogous question of philosophical writing. Can we interpret philosophical discourse as "rhetorical," embodied in language, and designed to persuade historical audiences, and at the same time preserve its traditional intention to disclose truths that transcend language, history, and audiences? Mason argues that these polar attitudes toward philosophical writing are untenable precisely when they exclude each other. This (...) is a significant project with important literary and metaphilosophical consequences. (shrink)
According to the dominant position in the just war tradition from Augustine to Anscombe and beyond, there is no “moral equality of combatants.” That is, on the traditional view the combatants participating in a justified war may kill their enemy combatants participating in an unjustified war— but not vice versa (barring certain qualifications). I shall argue here, however, that in the large number of wars (and in practically all modern wars) where the combatants on the justified side violate the rights (...) of innocent people (“collateral damage”), these combatants are in fact liable to attack by the combatants on the unjustified side. I will support this view with a rights-based account of liability to attack and then defend it against a number of objections raised in particular by Jeff McMahan. The result is that the thesis of the moral equality of combatants holds good for a large range of armed conflicts while the opposing thesis is of very limited practical relevance. (shrink)
and who has recently founded a company Numenta to develop 'a new type of computer memory system modeled after the human neocortex'. With science writer Sandra Blakeslee he wrote a book On Intelligence . I confess the book is still on my (very long) 'to be read' list, though I have read and heard quite a lot about it.
I have looked over, as I promised, Searle's "The Mystery of Consciousness", and his attack therein on Chalmers. They come to a similar main conclusion, which, in accordance with our own position, is that consciousness is not logically or ontologically reducible to the objective aspects of nature.
Following Hugo Grotius, a distinction is developed between private and public war. It is argued that, contrary to how most contemporary critics of the moral equality of combatants construe it, the just war tradition has defended the possibility of the moral equality of combatants as an entailment of the justifiability of public war. It is shown that contemporary critics of the moral equality of combatants are denying the possibility of public war and, in most cases, offering a conception of just (...) war as exclusively private war. The work of Jeff McMahan is used to exemplify this. Against these contemporary critics, it is argued that the reasons McMahan and others offer against the possibility of the moral equality of combatants undermine not only public war but also the possibility of fully realized and effective political authority. (shrink)
This paper discusses how Wittgenstein’s thinking informs recent conversations about art and aesthetic practice by examining his influence on the work of the noted modernist art critic, Michael Fried. Fried considers an excerpt from Wittgenstein’s Culture and Value, with a puzzling thought experiment, to help us see more clearly the Canadian artist Jeff Wall’s photographic vision and aesthetic. I consider Fried’s account of the photographic practice of Jeff Wall, especially his photograph Morning Cleaning, Mies van der Rohe Foundation (...) (1999). (shrink)
Is it reasonable to believe in God even in the absence of strong evidence that God exists? Pragmatic arguments for theism are designed to support belief even if one lacks evidence that theism is more likely than not. Jeff Jordan proposes that there is a sound version of the most well-known argument of this kind, Pascal's Wager, and explores the issues involved - in epistemology, the ethics of belief, decision theory, and theology.
I argue that the best way to solve Russell's problem of the relationship between propositions and their constituents is to think of propositions as properties of worlds. I argue that this view preserves the strengths and avoids some of the weaknesses of the view of the metaphysics of propositions defended by Jeff King in his _The Nature and Structure of Content_, and that it provides an explanation of the representational properties of propositions and the nature of indexical belief. I (...) conclude by discussing some problems about how to think about the semantics of propositional attitude ascriptions, if a view of this sort is correct. (shrink)
In a recent paper, McMahan argues that his ‘Responsibility Account’, according to which ‘the criterion of liability to attack in war is moral responsibility for an objectively unjustified threat of harm’, can meet the challenge of explaining why most combatants on the unjustified side of a war are liable to attack while most civilians (even on the unjustified side) are not. It should be added, however, that in the light of his rejection of the ‘moral equality of combatants’, McMahan would (...) also have to explain why combatants on the justified side of a war are not liable to attack. I will argue here that McMahan does not succeed in meeting these challenges. (shrink)
Defenders of the Psychological Approach to Personal Identity (PAPI) insist that the possession of some kind of mind is essential to us. We are essentially thinking beings, not living creatures. We would cease to exist if our capacity for thought was irreversibly lost due to a coma or permanent vegetative state. However, the onset of such conditions would not mean the death of an organism. It would survive in a mindless state. But this would appear to mean that before the (...) loss of cognition and the destruction of the person, the organism and the person were spatially coincident entities – two beings composed of the same matter at the same time and place. Perhaps the most problematic aspect of positing spatially coincident material entities is that it would seem to result in there being one too many thinkers. Since the person can obviously think, the organism should also have such a capacity as a result of possessing the same brain as well as every other atom of the person. This means that there now exist two thinking beings under the reader’s clothes! (shrink)
Recent work in the ethics of war has done much to challenge the collectivism of the convention-based, Walzerian just war theory. In doing so, it raises the question of when it is permissible for soldiers to resort to force. This article considers this issue and, in doing so, argues that the rejection of collectivism in just war should go further still. More specifically, it defends the ‘Individual-Centric Approach’ to the deep morality of war, which asserts that the justifiability of an (...) individual’s contribution to the war, rather than the justifiability of the war more generally, determines the moral acceptability of their participation. It then goes on to present five implications of the Individual-Centric Approach, including for individual liability to attack in war. (shrink)
This essay begins where Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue begins: facing a moral world in ruin. MacIntyre argues that this predicament leaves us with a choice: we can follow the path of Friedrich Nietzsche, accepting this moral destruction and attempting to create lives in a rootless, uncertain world, or the path of Aristotle, working to reclaim a world in which close-knit communities sustain human practices that make it possible for us to flourish. Jeff Frank rejects MacIntyre's framework and in this (...) essay attempts to create an alternative path, one of moral repair. Through a close reading of several poems from Robert Frost's North of Boston, Frank develops the notion of moral repair and describes its ethical and educational implications. (shrink)
McMahan’s own example of a symmetrical defense case, namely his tactical bomber example, opens the door wide open for soldiers to defend their fellow-citizens (on grounds of their special obligations towards them) even if as part of this defense they target non-liable soldiers. So the soldiers on both sides would be permitted to kill each other and, given how McMahan defines “justification,” they would also be justified in doing so and hence not be liable. Thus, we arrive, against McMahan’s intentions, (...) at a moral equality of combatants. In addition, his own account of liability cannot deal adequately with symmetrical defense cases in the first place. This undermines his presupposition that justification defeats liability, which is central to his defense of the moral inequality of combatants. I shall argue that McMahan’s attempts to counter these objections fail and that therefore his general claim of the moral inequality of combatants remains unpersuasive. (shrink)
The traditional theory of the just war comprises two sets of principles, one governing the resort to war ( jus ad bellum) and the other governing the conduct of war ( jus in bello). The two sets of principles are regarded, in Michael Walzer’s words, as “logically independent. It is perfectly possible for a just war to be fought unjustly and for an unjust war to be fought in strict accordance with the rules.”1 Let us say that those who ﬁght (...) in a just war are “just combatants,” while those who ﬁght in a war that is unjust because it lacks a just cause are “unjust combatants.” (A just cause is an aim that can contribute to the justiﬁcation for war and that may permissibly be pursued by means of war.)2 The most important implication of the idea that jus in bello is independent of jus ad bellum is that.. (shrink)
It is sometimes suggested that if a moral theory implies that infanticide can sometimes be permissible, that is sufficient to discredit the theory. I argue in this article that the common-sense belief that infanticide is wrong, and perhaps even worse than the killing of an adult, is challenged not so much by theoretical considerations as by common-sense beliefs about abortion, the killing of non-human animals, and so on. Because there are no intrinsic differences between premature infants and viable fetuses, it (...) is difficult to accept that an abortion performed after the point of viability can be permissible while denying that infanticide can be permissible for a comparably important reason. This and other challenges to the consistency of our intuitions exert pressure on us either to accept the occasional permissibility of infanticide or to reject liberal beliefs about abortion. (shrink)
This paper argues that certain central tenets of the traditional theory of the just war cannot be correct. It then advances an alternative account grounded in the same considerations of justice that govern self-defense at the individual level. The implications of this account are unorthodox. It implies that, with few exceptions, combatants who fight for an unjust cause act impermissibly when they attack enemy combatants, and that combatants who fight in a just war may, in certain circumstances, legitimately target noncombatants (...) who bear a significant degree of moral responsibility for a wrong, when the prevention or rectification of that wrong constitutes a just cause for war. (shrink)
The main objection to human embryonic stem cell research is that it involves killing human embryos, which are essentially beings of the same sort that you and I are. This objection presupposes that we once existed as early embryos and that we had the same moral status then that we have now. This essay challenges both those presuppositions, but focuses primarily on the ﬁrst. I argue ﬁrst that these presuppositions are incompatible with widely accepted beliefs about both assisted conception and (...) monozygotic twinning. I then argue that we never existed as embryos. If this last claim is right, killing an embryo does not kill someone like you or me but merely prevents one of us from existing. (shrink)
Most of us agree that terrorism is always, or almost always, wrong, which is hardly surprising, since the word is generally used to express disapproval. If an act of which we approve has features characteristic of terrorism, we will be careful to deny that it is in fact an act of terrorism. For example, those who believe that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were morally justified tend to deny that they were instances of terrorism. So while we agree that (...) terrorism is almost always wrong, we sometimes disagree about what it is we are condemning. To avoid misunderstanding, I will say at the outset what I understand terrorism to be. Acts of terrorism are intentional efforts to kill or seriously harm innocent people as a means of affecting other members of a group with which the immediate victims are identified.1 Usually the aim is to terrorize and intimidate the other members as a means of achieving some political or broadly ideological goal, though the aim might be different: it might, for example, be to punish or achieve vengeance against the group as a whole. Although the group against which terrorism is directed is usually political in nature, it need not be. It might, for example, be the group of doctors who perform abortions. Because the term `terrorism' is normatively loaded and therefore tends to be used by people to describe their enemies whatever their enemies may do, there is no definition that can capture all the many ways in which the term is ordinarily used. But the.. (shrink)
Pascal's Wager is finding ever more defenders who aim to undermine the old Many Gods Objection. It is my thesis that they are mistaken. After describing the Wager and the objection, I report on Jeff Jordan's repeated attempt to limit legitimate religious hypotheses to those that are traditional. In separate sections I criticize Jordan, first coming from epistemology and second from anthropology. Then I describe George Schlesinger's repeated appeal to the ‘simplest’ religious hypothesis, and argue that it fails for (...) similar reasons. Finally, I summarize and reject miscellaneous defences of Pascal by Robert Anderson, Bradley Armour-Garb, James Franklin, Joshua Golding, and Nicholas Rescher. (shrink)
Bruno Latour has had a tremendous impact on the field of science studies. Yet, it is not always easy to say what he stands for. Indeed, Latour has often claimed that his work lacks any overall unity. In this essay, I suggest that at least one concept remains constant throughout Latour’s diverse studies of modern science and technology, namely, mediation. I try to make good this claim by focussing on Latour’s numerous attempts over the years to distance himself from, so (...) as to discredit, the philosopher Martin Heidegger. I argue that Latour’s repeated denunciations of Heidegger amount to a systematic tactic of dissimulation: by suppressing the substance of Heidegger’s critique of modern technoscience, Latour directs attention away from the not insignificant weaknesses in his own theory of mediation. Against the backdrop of an appropriately reconstructed Heidegger, Latour’s self-promotion as a radically progressive non-modern thinker cannot be sustained. (shrink)
One of Kripke's fundamental objections to descriptivism was that the theory misclassifies certain _a posteriori_ propositions expressed by sentences involving names as _a priori_. Though nowadays very few philosophers would endorse a descriptivism of the sort that Kripke criticized, many find two-dimensional semantics attractive as a kind of successor theory. Because two-dimensionalism needn't be a form of descriptivism, it is not open to the epistemic argument as formulated by Kripke; but the most promising versions of two-dimensionalism are open to a (...) close relative of that argument. (shrink)
There is a nonabsolute or “contingent” form of pacifism that claims that war in contemporary conditions inevitably involves the killing of innocent people on a scale that is too great to be justified. Some contingent pacifists argue that war always involves a risk that virtually everyone that one might kill is innocent – either because one can never be sure that one’s cause is just or because even most of those who fight in wars that lack a just cause are (...) nevertheless not culpable and are therefore innocent in the relevant sense. Others argue that there is no just cause for war that is sufficiently important to justify the large-scale killing of innocent civilians that is unavoidable in war. I seek to refute contingent pacifism by arguing that its theoretical presuppositions are untenable. (shrink)
In the past twenty years, issues about the relationship between perception and thought have largely been framed in terms of the question of whether the contents of perception are nonconceptual. I argue that this debate has rested on an ambiguity in `nonconceptual content' and some false presuppositions about what is required for concept possession. Once these are cleared away, I argue that none of the arguments which have been advanced about nonconceptual content do much to threaten the natural view that (...) perception and thought are relations to the same kind of content. (shrink)
Michael Walzer suggests that our common beliefs about individual responsibility and liability become largely irrelevant in the conduct of war. In conditions of war, everything is changed. Political realists have claimed that war eliminates morality; Walzer claims that war collectivizes it. I believe that conditions of war change nothing at all; they simply make it more difficult to ascertain relevant facts. This is not to say that the principles and laws that do or should govern the activity of war are (...) identical to those governing relations among individuals. Just as domestic law cannot simply restate the principles of individual morality, because the declaration and enforcement of laws have effects that must be taken into account in the formulation of the law, so too the principles, conventions, and laws of war cannot simply restate the principles of individual or international morality. The rules of war have to accommodate our epistemic limitations and to be formulated with a regard for the ways in which their announcement is likely to affect people’s behavior. But they should otherwise reflect as closely as possible the.. (shrink)
In discussions about whether the Principle of the Identity of Indiscernibles is compatible with structuralist ontologies of mathematics, it is usually assumed that individual objects are subject to criteria of identity which somehow account for the identity of the individuals. Much of this debate concerns structures that admit of non-trivial automorphisms. We consider cases from graph theory that violate even weak formulations of PII. We argue that (i) the identity or difference of places in a structure is not to be (...) accounted for by anything other than the structure itself and that (ii) mathematical practice provides evidence for this view. We want to thank Leon Horsten, Jeff Ketland, Øystein Linnebo, John Mayberry, Richard Pettigrew, and Philip Welch for valuable comments on drafts of this paper. We are especially grateful to Fraser MacBride for correcting our interpretation of two of his papers and for other helpful comments. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
Some linguistic phenomena can occur in uses of language in thought, whereas others only occur in uses of language in communication. I argue that this distinction can be used as a test for whether a linguistic phenomenon can be explained via Grice’s theory of conversational implicature (or any theory similarly based on principles governing conversation). I argue further, on the basis of this test, that conversational implicature cannot be used to explain quantifier domain restriction or apparent substitution failures (...) involving coreferential names, but that it must be used to explain the phenomenon of referential uses of definite descriptions. I conclude with a brief discussion of the relevance of this point to the semantics/pragmatics distinction. (shrink)
This paper defends “moral individualism” against various arguments that have been intended to show that membership in the human species or participation in our distinctively human form of life is a sufficient basis for a moral status higher than that of any animal. Among the arguments criticized are the “nature-of-the-kind argument,” which claims that it is the nature of all human beings to have certain higher psychological capacities, even if, contingently, some human beings lack them, and various versions of the (...) idea that there is a special form of life that all human beings share but of which no animal can be a full participant. The paper concludes that none of these arguments succeeds in demonstrating that there are moral reasons to permit animals to be treated less well than members of our own species whose psychological capacities and potential are no higher than those of the animals. (shrink)
This is a review essay of Jeff McMahan's recent book The Ethics of Killing: Problems at the Margins of Life (OUP: 2002). In the first part, I lay out the central features of McMahan's account of the wrongness of killing and its implications for when it is permissible to kill. In the second part of the essay, I argue that we ought not to accept McMahan's rejection of species membership as having any bearing on whether it is permissible to (...) kill a particular individual, as there are ways of understanding its relevance that are more plausible than McMahan allows. (shrink)
At what stage of life is death worst for its victim? I hold that, typically, death is worse the earlier it occurs. Others, including Jeff McMahan and Christopher Belshaw, have argued that it is worst to die in early adulthood. In this paper I show that McMahan and Belshaw are wrong; I show that views that entail that Student’s death is worse face fatal objections. I focus in particular on McMahan’s time-relative interest account (TRIA) of the badness of death. (...) Manuscript in progress. (shrink)
I argue that the transparency of experience provides the basis of arguments both for intentionalism -- understood as the view that there is a necessary connection between perceptual content and perceptual phenomenology -- and for the view that the contents of perceptual experiences are Russellian propositions. While each of these views is popular, there are apparent tensions between them, and some have thought that their combination is unstable. In the second half of the paper, I respond to these worries by (...) arguing that Russellianism is consistent with intentionalism, that their conjunction is consistent with both internalism about phenomenology and externalism about perceptual content, and that the resulting view receives independent support from the relationship between hallucination and thought. (shrink)
Contra Michael Walzer and Jeff McMahan, neither classical just war theory nor the contemporary rules of war require or support any notion of combatant moral equality. Nations rightly accept prohibitions against punishing enemy combatants without recognizing any legal or moral right of aggressors to kill. The notion of combatant moral equality has real import only in our interpersonal -- and intrapersonal -- attitudes, since the notion effectively preempts any ground for conscientious objection. Walzer is criticized for over-emphasizing our collective (...) responses to war conduct and slighting our personal, extra-political responses. (shrink)
THERE’S a well-known scene in Shakespeare’s Henry V in which the King, disguised as an ordinary soldier, is conversing with some of his soldiers on the eve of the battle of Agincourt. Hoping to ﬁnd or inspire support among them, he remarks: “Methinks I could not die anywhere so contented as in the King’s company, his cause being just and his quarrel honorable.” One soldier replies: “That’s more than we know,” whereupon a second says: “Ay, or more than we should (...) seek after; for we know enough if we know we are the King’s subjects: if his cause be wrong, our obedience to the King wipes the crime of it out of us.”. (shrink)
The Doctrine of Double Effect has been challenged by the claim that what an agent intends as a means may be limited to those effects that are precisely characterized by the descriptions under which the agent believes that they are minimally causally necessary for the production of other effects that the agent seeks to bring about. If based on so narrow a conception of an intended means, the traditional Doctrine of Double Effect becomes limitlessly permissive. In this paper I examine (...) and criticize Warren Quinn's attempt to reformulate the Doctrine in such a way that it retains its force and plausibility even if we accept the narrow conception of an intended means. Building on Quinn's insights, I conclude by offering a further version of the Doctrine that retains the virtues of Quinn's account but avoids the objections to it. I The key element in the Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE) is the claim that there is a stronger presumption against action that has harm to the innocent as an intended effect than there is against otherwise comparable action that causes the same amount of harm to the innocent as a foreseen but unintended effect. Since it is relatively uncontroversial that, except perhaps in cases involving desert, it is wrong to cause harm as an end in itself, the DDE is normally invoked to distinguish morally between harm that is intended as a means and harm that is considered a merely foreseen side-effect. (shrink)
The moral issues about nationalism arise from the character of nationalism as a form of partiality. Nationalists care more about their own nation and its members than about other nations and their members; in that way nationalists are partial to their own national group. The question, then, is whether this national partiality is morally justified or, on the contrary, whether everyone ought to care impartially about all members of all nations. As Jeff McMahan emphasizes in [another chapter of the (...) book in which this essay appears], a philosophical examination of this question must consider the specific features of nationalism as one form of partiality among others. Some partiality--for example, toward one's spouse and children--seems morally acceptable and even a duty. According to commonsense moral thinking, one not only may but also should care more about one's family members than about strangers. But other instances of partiality, most notably racial partiality, are in most circumstances widely condemned. Is national partiality more like familial partiality or more like racial partiality? To answer this question, we must know what in general justifies attitudes of partiality. Caring more about certain people is appropriate when one stands in certain special relations to those people. But what are these relations, and to what degree do they hold among members of the same nation? Assuming they are present within families and not within races, to what degree are they present within nations? (shrink)
Paul Benacerraf's argument from multiple reductions consists of a general argument against realism about the natural numbers (the view that numbers are objects), and a limited argument against reductionism about them (the view that numbers are identical with prima facie distinct entities). There is a widely recognized and severe difficulty with the former argument, but no comparably recognized such difficulty with the latter. Even so, reductionism in mathematics continues to thrive. In this paper I develop a difficulty for Benacerraf's argument (...) against reductionism that is of comparable severity to the now widely recognized difficulty with his general argument against realism. Thanks to Kit Fine, Hartry Field, Jeff Sebo, Ted Sider, Stephen Schiffer, and anonymous referees at Philosophia Mathematica for helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. Thanks to Aron Edidin for many helpful discussions of the problems that inspired it. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
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The rare condition known as dicephalus occurs when (prior to implantation) a zygote fails to divide completely, resulting in twins who are conjoined below the neck. Human dicephalic twins look like a two-headed person, with each brain supporting a distinct mental life. Jeff McMahan has recently argued that, because they instance two of us but only one animal, dicephalic twins provide a counterexample to the animalist's claim that each of us is identical with a human animal. To the contrary, (...) I argue that in cases of dicephalus it is obvious neither that there is one animal nor that there are two of us. Consequently, the animalist criterion does not straightforwardly apply to cases of dicephalus. I defend an account of dicephalus that is both sensitive to the complexity of twinning phenomena and not inconsistent with animalism. In my view, dicephalic twins are a borderline case of the concept HUMAN ANIMAL. I conclude with some speculative remarks concerning the normative import (if any) of my claim that dicephalic twins are a borderline case. (shrink)
Attempts to determine or to select what kind of person or people to bring into existence are controversial. This is particularly true of “negative selection” or “selecting against” a certain type of person—that is, the attempt to prevent a person of a certain type, or people of that type, from existing. Virtually everyone agrees that some instances of negative selection are objectionable—for example, that selection against healthy people would be wrong, particularly if this were combined with positive selection of people (...) with serious diseases. But some people believe that all negative selection is objectionable and therefore that all “selection for existence,” whether positive or negative, is objectionable. For if negative selection is objectionable, it seems to follow that positive selection is as well, since the attempt to bring a person of a certain type into existence is simultaneously an attempt not to bring into existence a person who is not of that type. In short, positive selection is implicitly negative as well. (shrink)
Millians sometimes claim that we can explain the fact that sentences like "If Hesperus exists, then Hesperus is Phosphorus" seem a posteriori to speakers in terms of the fact that utterances of sentences of this sort would typically pragmatically convey propositions which really are a posteriori. I argue that this kind of pragmatic explanation of the seeming a posterioricity of sentences of this sort fails. The main reason is that for every sentence like the above which (by Millian lights) is (...) a priori, seems a posteriori to most speakers, and would typically be used to convey a posteriori propositions, there is another which (again, by Millian lights) is a priori, seems a posteriori to most speakers, but can only typically be used to convey a priori propositions. (shrink)
A Millian-Russellian semantic theory is one according to which the meanings of proper names are the objects for which they stand, and the meanings of predicates are the properties (or relations) they express. Given a compositionality principle (which I will assume), the Millian-Russellian must hold that sentences which differ only in the substitution of proper names which have the same reference (relative to the relevant context) must express the same proposition.
Most of us accept that all persons have a right not to be killed, unless they forfeit or, perhaps, waive it. According to the currently dominant understanding of the just war, civilians retain the protection of this right in conditions of war but combatants do not. On one view, combatants forfeit the right by posing a threat to others; on another view, they waive it when they accept combatant status, which requires that they identify themselves visually and in other ways (...) as legitimate targets. Yet people who fight in a just war (“just combatants”) and fight only by permissible means, are simply defending themselves and other innocent people against a wrongful attack or some other serious wrong. They do not, it seems, either forfeit their right not to be killed or grant their enemies permission to try to kill them. I believe, therefore, that the blanket permission that those who fight without a just cause (“unjust combatants”) have to kill just combatants is a legal permission only, not a moral permission. The law of war, I suggest, diverges quite radically on this issue from the morality of war. Although just combatants retain their moral right not to be killed, and although their right is seldom overridden, it is nonetheless best, for a variety of contingent and largely pragmatic reasons, not to hold unjust combatants legally liable for killing them. The moral right of just combatants not to be killed is not protected by a legal right in wartime. This is, however, not the common view of the permissibility of killing just combatants in war. Most people, including most moral theorists in the just war tradition, believe that the morality of war and the law of war coincide on this point. They believe, 2 as I noted, that all combatants lose their moral right not to be killed by enemy combatants in conditions of war. But what is the reason for thinking that the right they have in peacetime no longer protects them in war? I have argued at length elsewhere against the view that just combatants forfeit their right not to be killed by posing a lethal threat to others, as well as against the view that they consent to become legitimate targets and thus waive their right not to be killed.1 If my arguments are right, we must, if we wish to preserve the traditional view, explore other possible ways of defending it.. (shrink)
This collection contains twenty-one thought-provoking essays on the controversies surrounding the moral and legal distinctions between euthanasia and "letting die." Since public awareness of this issue has increased this second edition includes nine entirely new essays which bring the treatment of the subject up-to-date. The urgency of this issue can be gauged in recent developments such as the legalization of physician-assisted suicide in the Netherlands, "how-to" manuals topping the bestseller charts in the United States, and the many headlines devoted to (...) Dr. Jack Kevorkian, who has assisted dozens of patients to die. The essays address the range of questions involved in this issue pertaining especially to the fields of medical ethics, public policymaking, and social philosophy. The discussions consider the decisions facing medical and public policymakers, how those decisions will affect the elderly and terminally ill, and the medical and legal ramifications for patients in a permanently vegetative state, as well as issues of parent/infant rights. The book is divided into two sections. The first, "Euthanasia and the Termination of Life-Prolonging Treatment" includes an examination of the 1976 Karen Quinlan Supreme Court decision and selections from the 1990 Supreme Court decision in the case of Nancy Cruzan. Featured are articles by law professor George Fletcher and philosophers Michael Tooley, James Rachels, and Bonnie Steinbock, with new articles by Rachels, and Thomas Sullivan. The second section, "Philosophical Considerations," probes more deeply into the theoretical issues raised by the killing/letting die controversy, illustrating exceptionally well the dispute between two rival theories of ethics, consequentialism and deontology. It also includes a corpus of the standard thought on the debate by Jonathan Bennet, Daniel Dinello, Jeffrie Murphy, John Harris, Philipa Foot, Richard Trammell, and N. Ann Davis, and adds articles new to this edition by Bennett, Foot, Warren Quinn, Jeff McMahan, and Judith Lichtenberg. (shrink)
Foreword to the new edition Acknowledgements Introduction: radically interpreting Davidson I. From translation to interpretation 1. The Quinean background 1.1 Radical translation and naturalized epistemology 1.2 Meaning and indeterminacy 1.3 Analytical hypotheses and charity 2. The Davidsonian project 2.1 The development of a theory of meaning 2.2 The project of radical interpretation 2.3 From charity to triangulation..
Many alleged counter-examples to intentionalism, the thesis that the phenomenology of perceptual experiences of a given sense modality supervenes on the contents of experiences of that modality, can be avoided by adopting a liberal view of the sorts of properties that can be represented in perceptual experience. I argue that there is a class of counter-examples to intentionalism, based on shifts in attention, which avoids this response. A necessary connection between the contents and phenomenal characters of perceptual experiences can be (...) preserved by distinguishing perceptual phenomenology from the phenomenology of attention; but even if this distinction is viable, these cases put pressure on the thesis that phenomenal character can, in general, be explained in terms of mental representation. (shrink)
I reply to the argument of Caplan (Philos Stud 133:181–198, 2007 ) against the conjunction of Millianism with the view that utterances of sentences involving names often pragmatically convey descriptively enriched propositions.