Which factors influence the folk application of the concept of causation? Knobe has argued that causal judgments are primarily influenced by the moral valence of the behavior under consideration. Whereas Driver has pointed out that the data Knobe relies on can also be used to support the claim that it is the atypicality of the agent's behavior that influences our willingness to assign causality to that agent. While Knobe and Fraser have provided a further study to address the cogency of (...) this alternative explanation, we argue that they have not provided a complete analysis. We present a variation on this study that addresses the relation between atypical and moral considerations as they contribute to the application of the concept causation. Our results indicate that atypicality cannot be ignored in an analysis of the folk concept of causation. That is, Knobe and Fraser's response to Driver is inadequate. (shrink)
In her 2006 book ‘‘My Stroke of Insight” Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor relates her experience of suffering from a left hemispheric stroke caused by a congenital arteriovenous malformation which led to a loss of inner speech. Her phenomenological account strongly suggests that this impairment produced a global self-awareness deficit as well as more specific dysfunctions related to corporeal awareness, sense of individuality, retrieval of autobiographical memories, and self-conscious emotions. These are examined in details and corroborated by numerous excerpts from (...) Taylor’s book. Ó 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. (shrink)
Jill’s paper contains several distinct threads and arguments. I will focus only on what I see as the main theses of the paper, which involve the justification or grounding of the microcanonical probability distribution of classical statistical mechanics (MCD). I’ll begin by telling the “canonical” story of the MCD (as I see it). Then I will discuss Jill’s proposal. I will describe one worry that I have regarding her proposal, and I will offer a friendly amendment which (...) seems to allay my worry. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to explore the proper content of a formal semantic theory in two respects: first, clarifying which uses of expressions a formal theory should seek to accommodate, and, second, how much information the theory should contain. I explore these two questions with respect to occurrences of demonstratives and pronouns – the so- called ‘deferred’ uses – which are often classified as non-standard or figurative. I argue that, contrary to initial impressions, they must be treated as (...) semantically identical to ordinary, perceptual uses of these expression-types, and that this finding has important repercussions for our view of the scope and limits of a semantic theory. (shrink)
This essay is concerned with the problems of justice created by spillovers. After characterizing such spillovers more precisely and relating the concept to the economist's notion of an externality, I shall then consider the moral conclusions concerning spillovers that issue from a natural rights perspective and from the perspective of welfare economics supplemented with theories of distributive justice. I shall argue that these perspectives go badly awry in taking spillovers to be the exception rather than the rule in human interactions.
There is reason to believe that people of different gender, race or age differ in spectra that are shifted relative to one another. Shifted spectra are not as dramatic as inverted spectra, but they can be used to make some of the same philosophical points.
This paper argues that Article 8 of the ECHR, as applied to the protection of a person’s right to wear a headscarf, is an inappropriate locus for thrashing out arguments about the right to protection of religious freedom, and that Article 9 allows for a broader legal and political analysis of the multiple meanings and impacts of religion in our lives. However, the law should not prohibit women from wearing the headscarf. Legal regulation of the headscarf should be replaced with (...) robust political debate about the many diverse and intersecting ways in which it is possible to experience womanhood, sexuality, culture, religion, race, nationality and economic security in the twenty-first century. (shrink)
In this new introductory textbook to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, Jill Vance Buroker explains the role of this first Critique in Kant's Critical project and offers a line-by-line reading of the major arguments in the text. She situates Kant's views in relation both to his predecessors and to contemporary debates, explaining his Critical philosophy as a response to the failure of rationalism and the challenge of skepticism. Paying special attention to Kant's notoriously difficult vocabulary, she explains the strengths (...) and weaknesses of his arguments, while leaving the final assessment up to the reader. Intended to be read alongside the Critique (also published by Cambridge University Press as part of The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Immanuel Kant in Translation), this guide is accessible to readers with little background in the history of philosophy, but should also be a valuable resource for more advanced students. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Malament (2004) employs a time reversal transformation that differs from the standard one, without explicitly arguing for it. This is a new and important understanding of time reversal that deserves arguing for in its own right. I argue that it improves upon the standard one. Recent discussion has focused on whether velocities should undergo a time reversal operation. I address a prior question: What is the proper notion of time reversal? This is important, for it will (...) affect our conclusion as to whether our best theories are time-reversal symmetric, and hence whether our spacetime is temporally oriented. *Received February 2007; revised March 2008. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, Yale University, P.O. Box 208306, New Haven, CT 06520-8306; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
"Smooth groove poetry set to smooth groove R&B" or "soul-hip-hop-tinged feel music" ï¿½ these are a couple of ways to describe Jill Scottï¿½s sensational new work. Whatever Scott may lack in total vocal control, her maturity, her poetry jumps straight into your face addressing a full range of love and emotion themes: from the platonic to the incidental to the passionate to the forlornful. Each sentiment connects to an appropriate musical production ranging from the sultry classy sounds of (...) mainstream adult soul music, to jazzy inflections over hip hop grooves, to inspirational beats supporting lyrical themes that at times address issues of black feminism, unrequited love and the multidimensional emotions of lifeï¿½s complications. While the music is always supportive if not dominant, it is Scottï¿½s poise at connecting lyrical literalness with a strong musical emotional element that gives this outstanding work its strength. Youï¿½ll never find a mushy sentiment or a confused musical phrase on this recording. It is rock solid throughout. (shrink)
The idea of ‘hope’ has received significant attention in the political sphere recently. But is hope just wishful thinking, or can it be something more than a political catch-phrase? This book argues that hope can be understood existentially, or on the basis of what it means to be human. Under this conception of hope, given to us by Gabriel Marcel, hope is not optimism, but the creation of ways for us to flourish. War, poverty and an absolute reliance on technology (...) are real-life evils that can suffocate hope. Marcel’s thought provides a way to overcome these negative experiences. An ethics of hope can function as an alternative to isolation, dread, and anguish offered by most existentialists. This book presents Marcel’s existentialism as a convincing, relevant moral theory; founded on the creation of hope, interwoven with the individual’s response to the death of God. Jill Hernandez argues that today’s reader of Marcel can resonate with his belief that the experience of pain can be transcended through a philosophy of hope and an escape from materialism. (shrink)
This book explores the imaginative possibilities for philosophy created by Nietzsche's sustained reflection on the phenomenon of ecstasy. From The Birth of Tragedy to his experimental "physiology of art," Nietzsche examines the aesthetic, erotic, and sacred dimensions of rapture, hinting at how an ecstatic philosophy is realized in his elusive doctrine of Eternal Return. Jill Marsden pursues the implications of this legacy for contemporary Continental thought via analyses of such voyages in ecstasy as Kant, Schopenhauer, Schreber, and Bataille.
We are used to talking about the “structure” posited by a given theory of physics. We say that relativity is a theory about spacetime structure. Special relativity posits one spacetime structure; different models of general relativity posit different spacetime structures. We also talk of the “existence” of these structures. Special relativity says the world’s spacetime structure is Minkowskian: it posits that this spacetime structure exists. Understanding structure in this sense seems important for understanding what physics is telling us about the (...) world. But it is not immediately obvious just what this structure is, or what we mean by the existence of one structure, rather than another. The idea of mathematical structure is relatively straightforward. There is geometric structure, topological structure, algebraic structure, and so forth. Mathematical structure tells us how abstract mathematical objects t together to form different types of mathematical spaces. Insofar as we understand mathematical objects, we can understand mathematical structure. Of course, what to say about the nature of mathematical objects isn’t easy. But there seems to be no further problem for understanding mathematical structure. Modern theories of physics are formulated in terms of these mathematical structures. In order to understand “structure” as used in physics, then, it seems we must simply look at the structure of the mathematics that is used to state the physics. But it is not that simple. Physics is supposed to be telling us about the nature of the world. If our physical theories are formulated in mathematical language, using mathematical objects, then this mathematics is somehow telling us about the physical make-up of the world. What is.. (shrink)
From now on I will assume that it is possible in principle for there to be cases of spectrum inversion in which the invertees are equally good perceivers of the colors. What I want to show next is that while allowing this possibility is incompatible with standard representationalism, it requires acceptance of a different version of representationalism. Consider the standard way of describing a case of spectrum inversion. Returning to Jack and Jill, we say that red things look to (...) Jack the way green things look to Jill, blue things look to Jack the way yellow things look to Jill, and so on. Of course, we might also express this by saying that the phenomenal character of Jack’s experience of red things is like the phenomenal character of Jill’s experience of green things, and so on. Or by saying that “what it is like” for Jack to see red things is “what it is like” for Jill to see green things, and so on. But “phenomenal character” is philosophical jargon, and “what it is like” is on its way to being that. We need to be able cash these locutions in terms that we are sure we understand. And I think that the best way of doing that is in terms of how things look. Now the sense in which red things look different to Jack and Jill cannot be that they look to have different colors in the epistemic sense. We can suppose that both perceive red things as being red, and therefore that to both red things look red in the epistemic sense. Nor can it be the comparative sense – to each, we can suppose, red things look like standard red things under standard conditions. The remaining sense of “looks” is supposed to be the phenomenal sense. Now those who employ this notion typically speak of things as looking red, blue, yellow, etc., in the phenomenal sense. But if Jack and Jill are both accurate perceivers of the colors of things, it can’t be that the difference in how things look to them is a difference in what colors things look to them, even if “looks” is used in the phenomenal sense.. (shrink)
What is this thing called ‘Commonsense Psychology’? The first matter to settle is what the issue is here. By ‘commonsense psychology,’ I mean primarily the systems of describing, explaining and predicting human thought and action in terms of beliefs, desires, hopes, fears, expectations, intentions and other so-called propositional attitudes. Although commonsense psychology encompasses more than propositional attitudes--e.g., emotions, traits and abilities are also within its purview--belief-desire reasoning forms the core of commonsense psychology. Commonsense psychology is what we use to explain (...) intentional action as ordinarily described--e.g., Jack went to the store because he wanted some ice cream. Commonsense psychology also is used to explain mental states--e.g., Jill feared that she would be late because she thought that the meeting began at 4:00. Commonsense psychology is the province of everyone; we all use it all the time. (shrink)
This collection of ground-breaking essays considers the many dimensions of prayer: how prayer relates us to the divine; prayer's ability to reveal what is essential about our humanity; the power of prayer to transform human desire and action; and the relation of prayer to cognition. It takes up the meaning of prayer from within a uniquely phenomenological point of view, demonstrating that the phenomenology of prayer is as much about the character and boundaries of phenomenological analysis as it is about (...) the heart of religious life.The contributors: Michael F. Andrews, Bruce Ellis Benson, Mark Cauchi, Benjamin Crowe, Mark Gedney, Philip Goodchild, Christina M. Gschwandtner, Lissa McCullough, Cleo McNelly Kearns, Edward F. Mooney, B. Keith Putt, Jill Robbins, Brian Treanor, Merold Westphal, Norman Wirzba, Terence Wright and Terence and James R. Mensch. Bruce Ellis Benson is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Wheaton College. He is the author of Graven Ideologies: Nietzsche, Derrida, and Marion on Modern Idolatry and The Improvisation of Musical Dialogue: A Phenomenology of Music. Norman Wirzba is Associate Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at Georgetown College, Kentucky. He is the author of The Paradise of God and editor of The Essential Agrarian Reader. (shrink)
Or better: time asymmetry in thermodynamics. Better still: time asymmetry in thermodynamic phenomena. “Time in thermodynamics” misleadingly suggests that thermodynamics will tell us about the fundamental nature of time. But we don’t think that thermodynamics is a fundamental theory. It is a theory of macroscopic behavior, often called a “phenomenological science.” And to the extent that physics can tell us about the fundamental features of the world, including such things as the nature of time, we generally think that only fundamental (...) physics can. On its own, a science like thermodynamics won’t be able to tell us about time per se. But the theory will have much to say about everyday processes that occur in time; and in particular, the apparent asymmetry of those processes. The pressing question of time in the context of thermodynamics is about the asymmetry of things in time, not the asymmetry of time, to paraphrase Price ( , ). I use the title anyway, to underscore what is, to my mind, the centrality of thermodynamics to any discussion of the nature of time and our experience in it. The two issues—the temporal features of processes in time, and the intrinsic structure of time itself—are related. Indeed, it is in part this relation that makes the question of time asymmetry in thermodynamics so interesting. This, plus the fact that thermodynamics describes a surprisingly wide range of our ordinary experience. We’ll return to this. First, we need to get the question of time asymmetry in thermodynamics out on the table. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that Leibniz’s form/matter defense of omnipotence is paradoxical, but not irretrievably so. Leibniz maintains that God necessarily must concur only in the possibility for evil’s existence in the world (the form of evil), but there are individual instances of moral evil that are not necessary (the matter of evil) with which God need not concur. For Leibniz, that there is moral evil in the world is contingent on God’s will (a dimension of (...) divine omnipotence), with the result that even though it is necessary that God exerts his will, there are particular products of his will that are contingent and unnecessary—including human moral evil. If there are instances of evil which are contingent on God’s will and yet unnecessary, then the problematic conclusion for Leibniz’s view must be that human evil depends upon divine concurrence, not just for its possibility in the world (which is necessary) but for its instance (which is contingent). If the form/matter defense of omnipotence contains a true paradox, then God concurs in the form as well as the matter of evil. To assuage this difficulty for Leibniz, I will argue that he could either give up an Augustinian notion of evil, or rely upon a distinction between *potenta absoluta* and *potenta ordinate*, which was popular among important thinkers in the medieval period. (shrink)
We often use symmetries to infer outcomes’ probabilities, as when we infer that each side of a fair coin is equally likely to come up on a given toss. Why are these inferences successful? I argue against answering this with an a priori indifference principle. Reasons to reject that principle are familiar, yet instructive. They point to a new, empirical explanation for the success of our probabilistic predictions. This has implications for indifference reasoning in general. I argue that a priori (...) symmetries need never constrain our probability attributions, even when it comes to our initial credences. (shrink)
What is the place of language in human cognition? Do we sometimes think in natural language? Or is language for purposes of interpersonal communication only? Although these questions have been much debated in the past, they have almost dropped from sight in recent decades amongst those interested in the cognitive sciences. Language and Thought is intended to persuade such people to think again. It brings together essays by a distinguished interdisciplinary team of philosophers and psychologists, who discuss various ways in (...) which language may be implicated in human cognition. The editors have provided an introduction which lays out the basic terms and history of the debate, and a consolidated bibliography which will provide a valuable reference resource for all those interested in this area. The volume will be of great interest to all researchers and students interested in language and its place in cognition. (shrink)