In their development of causal decision theory, Allan Gibbard and William Harper advocate a particular method for calculating the expected utility of an action, a method based upon the probabilities of certain counterfactuals. Gibbard and Harper then employ their method to support a two-box solution to Newcomb’s paradox. This paper argues against some of Gibbard and Harper’s key claims concerning the truth-values and probabilities of counterfactuals involved in expected utility calculations, thereby disputing their analysis of Newcomb’s Paradox. If we are (...) right, then Gibbard and Harper’s method of calculating expected utility does not adequately represent rational choice. (shrink)
This is a critical examination of Quine's "Two Dogmas" that leaves nothing much of Quine's paper still standing. It concludes with a short study of a bit of bad work in philosophy that results from following the doctrines of "Two Dogmas".
Kaplanian, two-dimensional theories secure rigidity for indexicals by positing special contexts and semantic mechanisms reserved only for indexicals. The result is a deep and unexplained chasm between expressions that depend on the extra-linguistic context and expressions that depend on the discourse context. Theories that treat indexicals as anaphoric, presuppositional expressions (e.g., Zeevat 1999; Roberts 2002; Hunter & Asher 2005; Maier 2006, 2009) have the potential to be more minimal and general than Kaplanian, two-dimensional theories—the mechanism of presupposition, unlike that (...) of Kaplanian character, is useful for the semantics of a great many expressions. Maier (2006, 2009), however, has argued that presuppositional theories of indexicals must be supplemented with a two-dimensional semantics in order to secure rigidity for indexicals. If this is right, then presuppositional theories of indexicals will suffer from the limitations of Kaplan's system. This article argues that Maier is not right on this point: presuppositions can completely replace Kaplanian characters. A presuppositional theory can secure rigidity for indexicals without positing two independent dimensions of meaning that can never interact; in particular, it can do so without positing that indexicals have a special kind of meaning that by its nature can never interact with the kind of meaning that Kaplan called ‘content’. The result is a more general, minimal and flexible theory that better handles the data on indexicals. (shrink)
Oxford Approaches to Classical Literature (Series Editors: Kathleen Coleman and Richard Rutherford) introduces individual works of Greek and Latin literature to readers who are approaching them for the first time. Each volume sets the work in its literary and historical context, and aims to offer a balanced and engaging assessment of its content, artistry, and purpose. A brief survey of the influence of the work upon subsequent generations is included to demonstrate its enduring relevance and power. All quotations from the (...) original are translated into English. Plato's Symposium tells of a dinner party at a crucial point in Athenian history at which the guests decide that they will each in turn deliver a speech in praise of love. The humorous and brilliant work that follows points the way towards all Western thinking about love. The Symposium is also one of Plato's most sophisticated meditations on the practice of philosophy. This book introduces the literary and historical context of Plato's work, surveys and explains the arguments, and considers why Plato has cast this work in a highly unusual narrative form. A final chapter traces the influence of the Symposium from antiquity to the modern day. (shrink)
This paper discusses the notion of using international shipping legislation to provide healthcare technologies to inhabitants of a country on a ship in international waters based just outside the country’s border. This allows technologies that would otherwise be unavailable, regulated or banned to the citizens of a particular nation to be available, just offshore. This is because in international waters ships are governed by the laws of their home nation not those they are nearby. We focus on the example suggested (...) recently in the UK of “sperm ships”, flying Danish flags to circumvent IVF regulation in the UK. While we acknowledge that this general strategy could be used to do good by providing healthcare where it would not be otherwise available, it also provides a significant challenge to the effective sovereignty of the state and its ability to regulate healthcare technologies for the benefit of its citizens. We discuss this challenge to the regulation of healthcare and suggest a few tentative solutions. (shrink)
To approach philosophy as a way of working on the self means to begin not with the experience it clarifies and the subject it discovers, but with the acts of self‐transformation it requires and the subjectivity it seeks to fashion. Commenting on the variety of spiritual exercises to be found in the ancient schools, Pierre Hadot remarks that: Some, like Plutarch’s ethismoi, designed to curb curiosity, anger or gossip, were only practices intended to ensure good moral habits. Others, particularly the (...) meditations of the Platonic tradition, demanded a high degree of mental concentration. Some, like the contemplation of nature as practiced in all philosophical schools, turned the soul toward the cosmos, while still others—rare and exceptional—led to a transfiguration of the personality, as in the experiences of Plotinus. We also saw that the emotional tone and notional content of these exercises varied widely from one philosophical school to another: from the mobilization of energy and consent to destiny of the Stoics, to the relaxation and detachment of the Epicureans, to the mental concentration and renunciation of the sensible world among the Platonists.1 While successfully applied to ancient philosophy,2 this approach has not been widely exploited in the history of philosophy more broadly. There is, however, at least one study of medieval metaphysics in these terms,3 and there are some important discussions of early modern Stoicism and Epicureanism.4 And a recent study of Hume shows the fruitfulness of the approach for Enlightenment philosophy.5 It is all the more surprising then that there seems to have been no serious attempt to approach Kant’s moral philosophy in this way. (shrink)
In 1989 Smart problematised law as a masculinist knowledge which disqualified other forms of knowledge, particularly feminism. Twenty-one years later Smart characterises the relationship between law and feminism quite differently. In this account law responds to feminism and outcomes are progressive. Smart suggests that rather than continuing to focus on law’s disciplinary and normalising role, it is more productive to conceptualise contemporary family law as a creative kinning practice. We argue, however, that we must also bring into this account the (...) changes to the state brought about by neo-liberalism. The paper tests these observations about the trajectories of feminism, law and neo-liberalism by reflecting upon our study of the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT). AKT was established in 1989, in the wake of gay and lesbian resistance to Clause 28, to provide homes with gay and lesbian adults for homeless gay and lesbian teenagers. We are interested in AKT’s shift in its description of the adults’ relationship with the teenagers in their care from ‘brothers and sisters’ to ‘carers’ as it moved from a marginal force to mainstream partner/provider. In this context we explore the complexity of law’s responsiveness to feminism’s dynamism, its contingent recognition of kinning practices and, in the light of neo-liberalism, its continuing disciplinary role. (shrink)
The characteristics of the mid-Pliocene warm period (mPWP: 3.264–3.025 Ma BP) have been examined using geological proxies and climate models. While there is agreement between models and data, details of regional climate differ. Uncertainties in prescribed forcings and in proxy data limit the utility of the interval to understand the dynamics of a warmer than present climate or evaluate models. This uncertainty comes, in part, from the reconstruction of a time slab rather than a time slice, where forcings required by (...) climate models can be more adequately constrained. Here, we describe the rationale and approach for identifying a time slice(s) for Pliocene environmental reconstruction. A time slice centred on 3.205 Ma BP (3.204–3.207 Ma BP) has been identified as a priority for investigation. It is a warm interval characterized by a negative benthic oxygen isotope excursion (0.21–0.23‰) centred on marine isotope stage KM5c (KM5.3). It occurred during a period of orbital forcing that was very similar to present day. Climate model simulations indicate that proxy temperature estimates are unlikely to be significantly affected by orbital forcing for at least a precession cycle centred on the time slice, with the North Atlantic potentially being an important exception. (shrink)
Since Dilthey's template study of 1890, the Prussian state's attempt to censor Kant's religious writings has typically been seen as the work of a reactionary politics bent on imposing religious orthodoxy as a bulwark against the spread of Aufklärung. This essay offers a revisionist interpretation, arguing that the attempted censoring was a by-product of a set of a long-standing Religionspolitik designed to achieve religious toleration through a system of regulated public confessions. Reaffirmed in the Religious Edict (1788) and the Censorship (...) Edict (1788), Prussian policy required acceptance of a plurality of public confessions whose stability was preserved through the restriction of public proselytizing and the acceptance of private religious freedom. In breaking with this religious settlement, through their public advocacy of a true , the Protestant religious rationalists of the theological Aufklärung breached the embargo on public proselytizing, leading eventually to government's attempt to censor Kant's own. (shrink)
Rival Enlightenments is a major reinterpretation of early modern German intellectual history. Ian Hunter treats the civil philosophy of Pufendorf and Thomasius and the metaphysical philosophy of Leibniz and Kant as rival intellectual cultures or paideia, thereby challenging all histories premised on Kant's supposed reconciliation and transcendence of the field. This landmark study argues that the marginalization of civil philosophy in post-Kantian philosophical history may itself illustrate the continuing struggle between the rival enlightenments. Combining careful scholarship with vivid polemic, (...)Hunter presents penetrating insights for philosophers and historians alike. (shrink)
Andrew Tooke's 1691 English translation of Samuel Pufendorf's De officio hominis et civis, published as The Whole Duty of Man According to the Law of Nature, brought Pufendorf's manual fo statist natural law into English politics at a moment of temporary equilibrium in the unfinished contest between Crown and Parliament for the rights and powers of sovereignty. Drawing on the authors' re-edition of The Whole Duty of Man, this article describes and analyses a telling instance of how--by translation--the core political (...) terms and concepts of the German natural jurist's 'absolutist' formulary were reshaped for reception in the different political culture of late seventeenth-century England. (shrink)
Context -- A Jew in Amsterdam -- Conflicts and communities -- Christian philosophy? -- A Bible gallery -- Religion and politics in the TTP -- Miracles, meaning, and moderation -- Christian pluralism -- Ethics reconsidered -- Providence, obedience, and love -- Spinoza and Christianity.
In this paper I show that Arnauld defends a traditional Roman Catholic position on miracles, though he might have been expected to do otherwise. This oddity is explained by the fact that Arnauld, as spokesman for Port-Royal, was called upon to defend one of the most startling and best-documented miracles in history.