Physicalism is a program for building a unified system of knowledge about the world on the basis of the view that everything is a manifestation of the physical aspects of existence. JeffreyPoland presents a systematic and comprehensive exploration of the philosophical foundations of this program. He investigates the core ideas, motivating values, and presuppositions of physicalism; the constraints upon an adequate formulation of physicalist doctrine; the epistemological and modal status, the scope, and the methodological roles of physicalist (...) principles. He reviews and evaluates major objections to the program, and considers its significance for philosophy, science, society, and individual persons. He also examines the relations between physicalism and other philosophical positions, such as realism, empiricism, and relativism, and suggests that physicalism is compatible with a tolerant pluralism in the philosophical, cultural, and personal domains. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to examine the usefulness of the Machamer, Darden, and Craver (2000) mechanism approach to gaining an understanding of explanation in cognitive neuroscience. We argue that although the mechanism approach can capture many aspects of explanation in cognitive neuroscience, it cannot capture everything. In particular, it cannot completely capture all aspects of the content and significance of mental representations or the evaluative features constitutive of psychopathology.
According to Stephen Finlay, ‘A ought to X’ means that X-ing is more conducive to contextually salient ends than relevant alternatives. This in turn is analysed in terms of probability. I show why this theory of ‘ought’ is hard to square with a theory of a reason’s weight which could explain why ‘A ought to X’ logically entails that the balance of reasons favours that A X-es. I develop two theories of weight to illustrate my point. I first look (...) at the prospects of a theory of weight based on expected utility theory. I then suggest a simpler theory. Although neither allows that ‘A ought to X’ logically entails that the balance of reasons favours that A X-es, this price may be accepted. For there remains a strong pragmatic relation between these claims. (shrink)
This article is concerned with writing in Poland since the collapse of Communism. It focuses mainly on the generation of Polish writers who made their debut around the time of the collapse of Communism and whose work has since begun to appear in English translation. It considers the changing focus of the post-Communist generation of writers, asks how the translations of their work represent Poland to the world and what these works might indicate about changes within contemporary Polish (...) literary and political culture. In particular the article looks at recent fiction from Polish Women Writers and themes in recent writing including the ideas of Poland as Post-Communist, Post-nationalist, Post-Jewish and Post-German. (shrink)
This paper examines several key aspects of the ethical environment facing the insurance industries of Poland, The Czech Republic and Hungary as they complete the transition from Communist insurance systems built upon state-owned monopolies to viable private domestic insurance markets, and then seek to harmonize their markets with the single insurance market of the European Union. Since many types of ethical problems encountered during the transition are unlikely to diminish significantly as a result of either privatization or regulation of (...) the insurance markets of these countries, measures are identified that should help to improve the ethical environments of these markets. (shrink)
Jonathan Weisberg has argued that Jeffrey Conditioning is inherently “anti-holistic” By this he means, inter alia, that JC does not allow us to take proper account of after-the-fact defeaters for our beliefs. His central example concerns the discovery that the lighting in a room is red-tinted and the relationship of that discovery to the belief that a jelly bean in the room is red. Weisberg’s argument that the rigidity required for JC blocks the defeating role of the red-tinted light (...) rests on the strong assumption that all posteriors within the distribution in this example are rigid on a partition over the proposition that the jelly bean is actually red. But individual JC updates of propositions do not require such a broad rigidity assumption. Jeffrey conditionalizers should consider the advantages of a modest project of targeted updating focused on particular propositions rather than seeking to update the entire distribution using one obvious partition. Although Weisberg’s example fails to show JC to be irrelevant or useless, other problems he raises for JC (the commutativity and inputs problems) remain and actually become more pressing when we recognize the important role of background information. (shrink)
This paper discusses simultaneous belief updates. I argue here that modeling such belief updates using the Principle of Minimum Information can be regarded as applying Jeffrey conditionalization successively, and so that, contrary to what many probabilists have thought, the simultaneous belief updates can be successfully modeled by means of Jeffrey conditionalization.
The remarkable movement known as Solidarity recently celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in Poland. This essay provides a theoretical appreciation of the values and principles that guided and undergirded the movement, which greatly contributed to the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe. This systematic overview of the ethic of the Solidarity movement fills a lacuna in the field of ethics because ethicists who are interested in the concept of solidarity have largely overlooked the Polish experience of the 1980s. (...) This essay attempts to describe the key ingredients of the Polish ethic of solidarity by analyzing both Polish treatises on the subject and accounts of events on the ground. It elaborates conceptual categories and describes characteristic features of the movement in order to provide a phenomenological account of the nature of solidarity embodied in Poland during this era. These categories and characteristics include unity among differences, the foundation of hope at the movement's roots, self-sacrifice and heroism, promoting the equality and dignity of all, the centrality of participation, the affirmation of "bread and freedom," an option for the poor, and the insistence on life in truth. Although this essay does not attempt to demonstrate the relevance of this "thick" ethic of solidarity to capitalist, democratic societies today, by way of conclusion it raises questions pertaining to the contemporary significance of the Polish ethic of solidarity. (shrink)
This article describes the impact of, and response to, Trofim D. Lysenko's anti-genetics campaign in Poland between the years 1949 and 1956. It focuses particularly upon the response of three individuals – Teodor Marchlewski, Waclaw Gajewski, and Aleksandra Putrament -who were central figures in the controversy in Poland. In addition to examining the responses and motivations of these individuals, the article also addresses the question of why the Lysenko-era in Poland ended relatively earlier than in neighboring Soviet-allied (...) states such as Hungary, East Germany or Czechoslovakia, as well as 9 years before Lysenko was forced from power in the USSR. I argue that conditions specific to Polish politics and Poland's relationship with the Soviet Union, during the Thaw after Stalin's death, provided the opponents of "Lysenkoism" in Poland with an opportunity to criticize Lysenko, and restore Polish genetics. These conditions are linked to the near-revolution in Poland following the strike in Poznan in June, 1956, and successful transition of power between Edward Ochab and Wladyslaw Gomulka the following October. (shrink)
Social capital, measured as the level of trustamong people, may be regarded as a newproduction factor alongside the traditionalones of human and physical capital. Withappropriate levels of social capital,monitoring and transaction costs can be savedand thus economic growth stimulated. Vialinking social capital to rural development andcomparing the cases of agricultural cooperativemovements in Denmark and Poland, this paperidentifies possible roots of building socialcapital and suggests that social capital wasbuilt through a lengthy process in bothcountries during the 19th century. However,the comparison (...) of the present level of socialcapital indicates that the level of socialcapital is significantly higher in Denmark thanin Poland. The paper concludes that the reasonfor this difference is the fact that theoriginal accumulation of social capital inPoland was destroyed by the communist regime. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore the formation of human rights attitudes among what I call the “silent majority” in the post-communist countries of Central Europe and the former Soviet Union. This is the large, diverse group of people never directly confronted with harsh methods of repression under communism. I argue here that the foundations for conceptualizing human rights are based on the degree and saliency of exposure to rights violations and that, for many citizens of Central and Eastern Europe, life (...) behind the “iron curtain” is associated with relatively fewer rights violations than life after the iron curtain’s fall. Comparative personal experiences will play a key role in explaining how these citizens conceptualize human rights. I test this argument by applying it to the cases of Poland, where I conducted a total of 68 randomly selected non-elite interviews in an effort to probe for key factors defining individuals’ conceptions of human rights. (shrink)
[Stephen Makin] Aristotle draws two sets of distinctions in Metaphysics 9.2, first between non-rational and rational capacities, and second between one way and two way capacities. He then argues for three claims: [A] if a capacity is rational, then it is a two way capacity [B] if a capacity is non-rational, then it is a one way capacity [C] a two way capacity is not indifferently related to the opposed outcomes to which it can give rise I provide explanations (...) of Aristotle's terminology, and of how [A]-[C] should be understood. I then offer a set of arguments which are intended to show that the Aristotelian claims are plausible. \\\ [Nicholas Denyer] In De Caelo 1: 11-12 Aristotle argued that whatever is and always will be true is necessarily true. His argument works, once we grant him the highly plausible principle that if something is true, then it can be false if and only if it can come to be false. For example, assume it true that the sun is and always will be hot. No proposition of this form can ever come to be false. Hence this proposition cannot be false. Hence it is necessarily true, and so too is anything that follows from it. In particular, it is necessarily true that the sun is hot. Moreover, if the sun not only is and always will be hot, but also always has been, then it follows by similar reasoning that the sun not only cannot now fail to be hot, but also never could have failed. Anything everlastingly true is therefore, in the strictest sense of the term, necessarily true. (shrink)
Is there a contradiction in Stephen Colbert’s attitudes towards race? How can he consistently claim to be colorblind and yet hold a national search for a new "black friend"? I argue that Stephen is trying to claim rights and shirk responsibilities on matters of race relations in America, and that his famous notion of "truthiness" is an extension of this attitude to other areas of social and political discourse.
Praise for Ethics in Psychotherapy and Counseling, Third Edition "This is absolutely the best text on professional ethics around. . . . This is a refreshingly open and inviting text that has become a classic in the field." —Derald Wing Sue, professor of psychology, Teachers College, Columbia University "I love this book! And so will therapists, supervisors, and trainees. In fact, it really should be required reading for every mental health professional and aspiring professional. . . . And it is (...) a fun read to boot!" —Stephen J. Ceci, H. L. Carr Professor of Psychology, Cornell University "Pope and Vasquez have done it again. . . . an indispensable resource for seasoned professionals and students alike." —Beverly Greene, professor of psychology, St. John's University "[The third edition] focuses on how to think about ethical dilemmas . . . with empathy for the decision-maker whose best option may have to be a compromise between different values. If there is only room on the shelf for one book in the genre, this is it." —Patrick O'Neill, former president, Canadian Psychological Association "This third edition of the classic ethics text provides invaluable resources and enables readers to engage in critical thinking in order to make their own decisions.?This superb reference belongs in every psychology training program's curriculum and on every psychologist's?bookshelf." —Lillian Comas-Diaz, 2006 president, APA Division of Psychologists in Independent Practice "Ken Pope and Melba Vasquez are right on target once again in the third edition, a book that every practicing mental health professional should read and have in their reference library." —Jeffrey N. Younggren, risk management consultant, American Psychological Association Insurance Trust "Without a doubt, this is the definitive book on ethics within psychology that can inform students, educators, clinical researchers, and practitioners." —Nadine J. Kaslow, professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Emory University School of Medicine "This stunningly good book . . . should be on every therapist's desk for quick reference." —David Barlow, professor of psychology and psychiatry, Boston University. (shrink)
Kalam cosmological arguments have recently been the subject of criticisms, at least inter alia, by physicists---Paul Davies, Stephen Hawking---and philosophers of science---Adolf Grunbaum. In a series of recent articles, William Craig has attempted to show that these criticisms are “superficial, iII-conceived, and based on misunderstanding.” I argue that, while some of the discussion of Davies and Hawking is not philosophically sophisticated, the points raised by Davies, Hawking and Grunbaum do suffice to undermine the dialectical efficacy of kalam cosmological arguments.
Some of the most interesting recent work in philosophy of language and metaphysics is focused on questions about propositions, the abstract, truth-bearing contents of sentences and beliefs. The aim of this guide is to give instructors and students a road map for some significant work on propositions since the mid-1990s. This work falls roughly into two areas: challenges to the existence of propositions and theories about the nature and structure of propositions. The former includes both a widely discussed puzzle about (...) propositional designators as well as direct and indirect arguments against the existence of propositions. The latter is dominated by what is currently the central debate about the metaphysics of propositions, i.e. whether they are structured, composite entities or unstructured ontological simples. This issue has eclipsed older debates about whether propositions can be identified with sets of possible worlds or other kinds of sentence intensions. Author Recommends 1. Soames, Scott. 'Direct Reference, Propositional Attitudes, and Semantic Content.' Philosophical Topics 15 (1987): 47–87. Reprinted in Propositions and Attitudes . Eds. N. Salmon and S. Soames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. 197–239. Essential groundwork for more recent work on propositions. Soames gives a careful and exacting presentation of the case against identifying propositions with sets of possible worlds or other truth-supporting circumstances. Also contains a detailed statement of the Russellian conception of propositions on which propositions are ordered sets of objects, properties and relations. 2. King, Jeffrey. 'Designating Propositions.' The Philosophical Review 111 (2002): 341–71. Sometimes substituting a definite description for a corresponding 'that'-clause can lead to bizarre changes in truth-conditions: compare 'Bill fears that Hillary will be president' with 'Bill fears the proposition that Hillary will be president'. This puzzle about propositional designators threatens the relational analysis of propositional attitude reports, the view that 'believes' expresses a relation to the proposition designated by its 'that'-clause, and thereby poses an indirect threat to the existence of propositions. King's solution posits an ambiguity in verbs like 'fear' that embed both 'that'-clauses and definite descriptions. 3. Jubien, Michael. 'Propositions and the Objects of Thought.' Philosophical Studies 104 (2001): 47–62. A direct attack on the existence of propositions. Jubien deploys an analogue of the problem that Paul Benacerraf raised for set-theoretical reductions of numbers against metaphysical reductions of propositions. Just as numbers can be reduced to sets in many different ways, any reduction of propositions brings with it equally good variants, thus making any such reduction arbitrary and unmotivated. The only alternative is to treat propositions as abstract metaphysical primitives. As Jubien argues, however, abstract primitive entities are incapable of doing what propositions must do, i.e. represent objects and states of affairs on their own, without the input of thinking subjects. The upshot is the propositions cannot be reduced and they cannot be primitive, and so they must not exist. 4. Hanks, Peter. 'How Wittgenstein Defeated Russell's Multiple Relation Theory of Judgment.' Synthese 154 (2007): 121–46. Scepticism about propositions has recently led some philosophers, Jubien included, to resuscitate Russell's multiple relation theory of judgment, the idea that judgment is a many-place relation to objects, properties and relations. This paper explains why Russell himself abandoned that theory, and why the theory is still refuted by an objection due to Wittgenstein. 5. Hofweber, Thomas. 'Inexpressible Properties and Propositions.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics . 2 vols. Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 155–206. An indirect attack on the existence of propositions. Hofweber argues that sentences like 'Bill believes something that Hillary asserted' do not commit us to the existence of propositions. His view is that propositional quantification is an instance of what he calls 'internal' or 'inferential role' quantification, a kind of quantification that carries no ontological implications. 6. Schiffer, Stephen. The Things We Mean . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. esp. chs 1–2. Schiffer defends his theory of pleonastic propositions, on which propositions are unstructured, have no parts, and are very finely grained. 7. Bealer, George. 'Propositions.' Mind 107 (1998): 1–32. Bealer defends his algebraic theory of propositions, which, like Schiffer's pleonastic account, treats propositions as unstructured metaphysical simples. 8. King, Jeffrey. The Nature of and Structure of Content . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. The best developed current theory of the structure in structured propositions. King identifies propositions with certain kinds of facts in which objects, properties and relations are bound together by amalgams of syntactic and semantic relations. 9. Hanks, Peter. 'Recent Work on Propositions.' Philosophy Compass 4 (2009): 1–18. A survey of work on propositions since the mid-1990s that complements this teaching and learning guide. Contains responses to Jubien's and Hofweber's arguments against propositions and critical discussions of Schiffer's pleonastic propositions and King's theory of propositional structure. Online Resources 1. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/propositions/ Propositions (Matthew McGrath) 2. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/propositions-structured/ Structured Propositions (Jeffrey King) 3. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/propositions-singular/ Singular Propositions (Greg Fitch) Sample Partial Syllabus The following partial syllabus can be used as a unit on recent work on propositions in graduate level courses in philosophy of language or metaphysics. Week 1: A Substitution Puzzle About Propositional Designators King, Jeffrey. 'Designating Propositions'. Moltmann, Friederike. 'Propositional Attitudes Without Propositions.' Synthese 135 (2003): 77–118. Week 2: The Benacerraf Problem and Propositional Representation Benacerraf, Paul. 'What Numbers Could Not Be.' Philosophical Review 74 (1965): 47–73. Jubien, Michael. 'Propositions and the Objects of Thought.' Week 3: Propositional Quantification Hofweber, Thomas. 'Inexpressible Properties and Propositions'. Hofweber, Thomas. 'A Puzzle about Ontology.' Noûs 39 (2005): 256–83. Week 4: Schiffer on Pleonastic Propositions Schiffer, Stephen. 'Language-Created Language-Independent Entities.' Philosophical Topics 24 (1996): 149–67. Schiffer, Stephen. The Things We Mean , chs 1–2. Week 5: King on Structured Propositions King, Jeffrey. 'Structured Propositions and Complex Predicates.' Noûs , 29 (1995): 516–35. King, Jeffrey. The Nature and Structure of Content , chs 1–3. Focus Questions 1. Why does identifying propositions with sentence intensions, e.g. sets of possible worlds, 'require the attitudes to have a particular sort of closure under logical consequence, which they clearly don't have' (Mark Richard)? 2. How does the difference between (a) and (b) pose a threat to the existence of propositions? (a) Bill fears that Hillary will be president. (b) Bill fears the proposition that Hillary will be president. 3. What is the Benacerraf problem for metaphysical reductions of propositions? 4. Why must a proposition represent 'on its own cuff' (Michael Jubien)? Why is this a problem for the view that propositions are primitive abstract entities? 5. What does it mean to say that propositions are structured ? Give two different accounts of what propositional structure might be. (shrink)
Leading scholars in the philosophy of language and theoretical linguistics present brand-new papers on a major topic at the intersection of the two fields, the distinction between semantics and pragmatics. Anyone engaged with this issue in either discipline will find much to reward their attention here. Contributors: Kent Bach, Herman Cappelen, Michael Glanzberg, Jeffrey C. King, Ernie Lepore, Stephen Neale, F. Recanati, Nathan Salmon, Mandy Simons, Scott Soames, Robert J. Stainton, Jason Stanley, Zoltan Gendler Szabo.
Bayesian decision theory can be viewed as the core of psychological theory for idealized agents. To get a complete psychological theory for such agents, you have to supplement it with input and output laws. On a Bayesian theory that employs strict conditionalization, the input laws are easy to give. On a Bayesian theory that employs Jeffrey conditionalization, there appears to be a considerable problem with giving the input laws. However, Jeffrey conditionalization can be reformulated so that the problem (...) disappears, and in fact the reformulated version is more natural and easier to work with on independent grounds. (shrink)
[This is a nearly final review of Stephen Davies The Artful Species, for the British Journal of Aesthetics.] In this review, I outline the evolved roles of (a) emotions/drives/appetites, and (b) "telic" pleasure, which results from getting something beneficial. I argue that, contrary to Davies, aesthetic appreciation does not fall into either of the above categories (as normally understood). That is, aesthetic appreciation can neither be a drive to possess its object, nor pleasure in possessing that object. Rather, it (...) is pleasure in contemplating that object. Evolutionary accounts fail, therefore, if they rely on the benefits provided by aesthetic objects. They must rather demonstrate the benefits of contemplating these objects. (shrink)
I would like to thank the editors of Philosophy East and West for courteously asking me if I would like to respond to Matthew Dasti and Stephen Phillips' very thoughtful remarks about the review I wrote of Phillips' translation and commentary on the pratyakṣa chapter of Gaṅgeśa's Tattvacintāmaṇi, prepared in collaboration with N. S. Ramanuja Tatacharya (Phillips and Tatacharya 2004). Let me begin by reaffirming what I said at the beginning of my review, that the book is "a monumental (...) and momentous achievement, one whose importance cannot be understated." I have indeed enormous admiration for the magnitude of their achievement and respect for the contribution they have made through this translation to the field of .. (shrink)
Philosophy of language is the branch of philosophy that examines the nature of meaning, the relationship of language to reality, and the ways in which we use, learn, and understand language. The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Language provides a comprehensive and up-to-date survey of the field, charting its key ideas and movements, and addressing contemporary research and enduring questions in the philosophy of language. Unique to this Companion is clear coverage of research from the related disciplines of formal logic (...) and linguistics, and discussion of the applications in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and philosophy of mind. Organized thematically, the Companion is divided into seven sections: Core Topics; Foundations of Semantics; Parts of Speech; Methodology; Logic for Philosophers of Language; Philosophy of Language for the Rest of Philosophy; and Historical Perspectives. Comprised of 70 never-before-published essays from leading scholars--including Sally Haslanger, Jeffrey King, Sally McConnell-Ginet, Rae Langton, Kit Fine, John MacFarlane, Jeff Pelletier, Scott Soames, Jason Stanley, Stephen Stich and Zoltan Gendler Szabo--the Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Language promises to be the most comprehensive and authoritative resource for students and scholars alike. (shrink)
Many authors, including David Bell (1987), Dalia Drai, Michael Dummett, Paul Horwich, Jeffrey King, Christopher Peacocke, Ian Rumfitt, Stephen Schiffer, Robert Stalnaker, and Pavel Tichý have answered The Question affirmatively. It seems to be widely assumed that Frege held what sometimes is called a building-block theory of thoughts: A thought consists of parts, pretty much like a stone wall consists of stones. And there is a lot of textual evidence in Frege's writings which may seem to suggest this. (...) I have included some of the relevant quotations in the appendix. (shrink)
I argue that Stephen Houlgate misstates an element in the Kantian background to my reading of “Lordship and Bondage” (§2). He misreads my remarks about the need to see Hegel’s moves there in the context of the progression towards absolute knowing (§3), and, partly consequently, he fails to engage with the motivation for my reading (§4). And he does not understand the way my reading exploits the concept of allegory (§5).
Since the beginning of the ?eighties of the present century, a circle of relatively young American sociologists who are followers of Jeffrey Alexander are making energetic and spectacular efforts to supply sociology with a uniform and comprehensive theoretical framework by continuing Talcott Parsons' lifework. The present article is an appreciation of Alexander's achievements in the justification of a general sociological theory (especially a theory of action and social order) while pointing to objections that can be raised against the character (...) of his theory. A scrutiny of Alexander's metatheoretical deliberations and of his interpretations of sociological classics such as Marx, Durkheim, Weber, and Parsons reveals that Alexander's metatheoretical frame is not flexible enough to actually reconstruct the problem situation of the classics. Pointers are given toward a theory of action that is not subject to the antinomy of utilitarianism and normativism, so that it is more adequate and appropriate to the heritage of the sociological classics, both from a theoretical and an interpretative angle. (shrink)
This article is a critical review of Stephen Schiffers monograph The Things We Mean . The text discusses some novel contributions made by Schiffer to the philosophy of meaning, in particular, Schiffers proposal for the reification of certain abstract entities and the application of his argument to the philosophical problem of vagueness in natural language. Special attention is paid both to Schiffers ingenious use of the notion of conservative extension , here employed as a criterion for distinguishing legitimate from (...) illegitimate reifications and to Schiffers notion of vague partial belief and its relation to standard partial belief. Schiffers particular understanding of vagueness and its relation to the sorites paradox is also considered, with some remarks made concerning the relationship between these related philosophical problems and human perception. Key Words: meaning vagueness sorites perception conservative extension fictional entities. (shrink)
After Meaning, 1972, and The Remnants of Meaning , 1987, The Things We Mean is Stephen Schiffer's third major work on the foundations of the theory of linguistic meaning. In simplest possible outline, the development started with a positive attempt to base a meaning theory on a modified Gricean account of utterance meaning, but took a negative turn, with the problems of belief sentences as a major reason for thinking that a systematic (compositional) semantic theory for natural language was (...) not possible at all. In the recent book, things have again taken a more positive turn, but now constructive and destructive elements are mixed in complex ways in a complex account, rich in ideas and in detail, and a great challenge to the reader. It is not always obviously free of inner conflict. Nor can one always easily see how things hang together. I shall here try to accurately present the main ideas. Where my comments are not relegated to separate paragraphs, I mark the transition with a dash ( -). (shrink)
Richard Jeffrey's generalization of Bayes' rule of conditioning follows, within the theory of belief functions, from Dempster's rule of combination and the rule of minimal extension. Both Jeffrey's rule and the theory of belief functions can and should be construed constructively, rather than normatively or descriptively. The theory of belief functions gives a more thorough analysis of how beliefs might be constructed than Jeffrey's rule does. The inadequacy of Bayesian conditioning is much more general than Jeffrey's (...) examples of uncertain perception might suggest. The ``parameter α '' that Hartry Field has introduced into Jeffrey's rule corresponds to the "weight of evidence" of the theory of belief functions. (shrink)
This paper is partly a tribute to Richard Jeffrey, partly a reflection on some of his writings, The Logic of Decision in particular. I begin with a brief biography and some fond reminiscences of Dick. I turn to some of the key tenets of his version of Bayesianism. All of these tenets are deployed in my discussion of his response to the St. Petersburg paradox, a notorious problem for decision theory that involves a game of infinite expectation. Prompted by (...) that paradox, I conclude with some suggestions of avenues for future research. (shrink)
Note: The Simpson's, television's popular prime-time cartoon known for its satirical commentary on various social issues, recently took a shot at the creation-evolution debate by featuring Stephen Jay Gould prominently in one of its episodes. Here is Bill Dembski's review and observations of that episode.
It is now often taken for granted that facts are entia non grata, for there exists a powerful argument (dubbed the slingshot), which is backed by such great names as Frege or Gödel or Davidson (and so could hardly be wrong), that discredits their existence. There indeed is such an argument, and it indeed is not wrong on the straightforward sense of wrong. However, in how far it knocks down any conception of facts is another story, a story which is (...) anything but simple and perspicuous. In his book, Stephen Neale takes pains to excavate the origins of the argument and the presuppositions which it needs to be usable for the purpose of exorcising facts. In the introduction of the book, Neale expresses his conviction that his analysis of the slingshot will not only compromise its usability for the purpose of discrediting facts, but also save representationalist conceptions of language and mind from the attacks of the antirepresentationalist philosophers like Davidson and Rorty. „Representational philosophy,“ he claims, „survives the Davidson-Rorty onslaught because non-truth-functional logics and ontologies of facts, states of affairs, situations and propositions survive not only the actual arguments deployed against them, but also the most precise and powerful slingshot arguments that can be constructed.“ However, what he does take his analyses to show is that „the most precise and powerful slingshot arguments demonstrate conclusively that the logical and ontological theories originally targeted must satisfy non-trivial conditions if they are to avoid logical or ontological collapse.“ (P. 12) The book starts with the discussion of the philosophy of Donald Davidson, who appears to have brought the slingshot argument to the current prominence within philosophical discussions. Here we encounter the first variant of the slingshot: Consider two sentences φ and ψ and a proper name d. Consider the definite descriptions ‘the object x such that (x = d and φ)’ and ‘the object x such that (x = d and ψ)’.. (shrink)
In Tsuji 1997 the concept of Jeffrey-Keynes algebras was introduced in order to construct a paraconsistent theory of decision under uncertainty. In the present paper we show that these algebras can be used to develop a theory of decision under uncertainty that measures the degree of belief on the quasi (or partial) truth of the propositions. As applications of this new theory of decision, we use it to analyze Popper's paradox of ideal evidence and to indicate a possible way (...) of formalizing Keynes' theory of economic action. (shrink)
Abstract. Suppose that several individuals who have separately assessed prior probability distributions over a set of possible states of the world wish to pool their individual distributions into a single group distribution, while taking into account jointly perceived new evidence. They have the option of (i) first updating their individual priors and then pooling the resulting posteriors or (ii) first pooling their priors and then updating the resulting group prior. If the pooling method that they employ is such that they (...) arrive at the same final distribution in both cases, the method is said to be externally Bayesian, a property first studied by Madansky (1964). We show that a pooling method for discrete distributions is externally Bayesian if and only if it commutes with Jeffrey conditioning, parameterized in terms of certain ratios of new to old odds, as in Wagner (2002), rather than in terms of the posterior probabilities of members of the disjoint family of events on which such conditioning originates. (shrink)
A standard method for refuting a set of claims is to show that it implies a contradiction. Stephen Clark questions this method on the grounds that the Law of Non-Contradiction, together with the other fundamental laws of logic do not accord with everyday reality. He accounts for vagueness by suggesting that, for any vague predicate 'F', an ordinary object is typically to some extent both F and not-F, and that objects do not change abruptly from being F to being (...) not-F. I challenge Clark's 'deconstruction' of logic, and show that, in characterizing vagueness and dealing with the associated Sorites paradox, we can accommodate his observation that change from being F to being not-F is ineradically continuous without tampering with any fundamental logical laws. (shrink)
I have argued previously that the art of absolute music, unlike, for example, the art of literature, is not capable of profundity, which I characterized as treating a profound subject matter, at the highest artistic level, in a manner appropriate to its profundity. Stephen Davies has recently argued that there is another way of being profound, which he calls non-propositional profundity, and for which chess provides his principal example. He argues, further, that absolute music also exhibits this non-propositional profundity. (...) I argue in the present paper that Davies's attempt to rescue profundity for absolute music will not work, because it does not allow what I take to be the crucial distinction between great works of absolute music that are profound and great works of absolute music that are not. In other words, it has the unwelcome implication that all great works of absolute music are profound works. (shrink)
This paper explores the significance of the concept of power/knowledge in educational theory. The argument proceeds in two main parts. In the first, I consider aspects of Stephen J. Ball's highly influential work in educational theory. I examine his reception of Foucault's concept of power/knowledge and suggest that there are problems in his adoption of Foucault's thought. These problems arise from the way that he settles interpretations into received ideas. Foucault's thought, I try to show, is not to be (...) seen in a confined way. In the second part, I seek a different reading of Foucault's notion of power/knowledge in order to break with this tendency to confine, referring to the work of Gilles Deleuze. I draw particularly on Deleuze's thought of the outside as a means of manifesting the significance of power/knowledge in relation to processes of subjectification. At the end of the paper, I suggest how educational theory might be reconceived in the light of potencies of power/knowledge that the paper has demonstrated. (shrink)
Stephen Mumford's Dispositions1 is an interesting and thought-provoking addition to a recent surge of publications on the topic.2 Dispositions have not been such a hot topic since the heyday of behaviourism. But as Mumford argues in his first chapter, the importance of dispositions to contemporary philosophy can hardly be underestimated. Dispositions are fundamental to causal role functionalism in the philosophy of mind, response-dependent truth conditional accounts of moral and other concepts,3 capacity accounts of concepts more generally,4 theories of belief, (...) the compatibilist conception of free will, the philosophy of matter, probability (propensities) and more. So it is natural that conceptual and ontological issues about dispositions have come again to the fore. The only surprise is that it's taken so long. (shrink)