F. H. Bradley (1846-1924) was considered in his day to be the greatest British philosopher since Hume. For modern philosophers he continues to be an important and influential figure. However, the opposition to metaphysical thinking throughout most of the twentieth century has somewhat eclipsed his important place in the history of British thought. Consequently, although there is renewed interest in his ideas and role in the development of Western philosophy, his writings are often hard to find. This collection unites (...) all of his published works, much of which has long been out of print, together with selected notebooks, articles, and correspondence from his previously unpublished remains. The set therefore provides the opportunity to view his entire philosophy, both in the breadth of its scope - from critical history and ethics through logic to metaphysics and epistemology - and in its historical development - from the earliest Hegelian writings to the later more psychological and pragmatic work. In addition the set features introductions to Bradley's writings, life and character, providing the framework to assess his permanent importance in the history of philosophy. --the first ever publication of all Bradley's works --includes 5 volumes of reset material, mostly never before published --a collecton that all serious philosophy libraries should have --extremely comprehensive new editorial matter --volumes 4 & 5 are indexed by subject and name --collects Bradley's correspondence, spanning 50 years, with Russell, Samuel Alexander, Bosanquet, Haldane, William James, Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison, and many others --includes Bradley's notes on Green's lectures on ethics, selected undergraduate essays, notebooks preparatory of his major works, lists of what Bradley read, essays that never reached publication, inventory of Bradley's papers, and a catalogue of Bradley's personal library. (shrink)
This article proffers a critical reading of multiliteracy pedagogy and a materialism of the multimodal and machinic. A critical stance is taken against the mesmerising modes of representation that run rampant across our ocular territories. The article assesses the dangers of fetishizing technologies. To this end, Multiple Literacies Theory (MLT) is read through a Guattarian theoretical prism to emphasise four chief points: (1) the role of the unconscious, (2) the role of affect (affectus in the Spinozian sense; contrary to feeling (...) which immobilises, affect moves us), (3) the apparent becoming cyborg of the human race and (4) the desire to desire repression. The author contends that while qualitative multiplicities play a central role for MLT, it is neither inconsistent nor contradictory to consider the role of the machinic in greater detail. It is argued that more research must be directed into the cartographic, ethological and noological mechanisms at work in plastic universes of reference (new technologies and the arts) which transform the virtual and transfigure the dynamic of affect. (shrink)
Abstract Jonathan Weisberg (Analysis, 70(3), pp. 431–438, 2010 ) argues that, given that life exists, the fact that the universe is fine-tuned for life does not confirm the design hypothesis. And if the fact that life exists confirms the design hypothesis, fine-tuning is irrelevant. So either way, fine-tuning has nothing to do with it. I will defend a design argument that survives Weisberg’s critique—the fact that life exists supports the design hypothesis, but it only does so given fine-tuning. Content Type (...) Journal Article Category Original Article Pages 1-4 DOI 10.1007/s10670-011-9322-y Authors Darren Bradley, Philosophy Department, 160 Convent Ave, New York, NY 10031, USA Journal Erkenntnis Online ISSN 1572-8420 Print ISSN 0165-0106. (shrink)
Fischer on death and unexperienced evils Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11098-010-9667-0 Authors Ben Bradley, Philosophy Department, Syracuse University, 541 Hall of Languages, Syracuse, NY 13244, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
In this comprehensive study of Wittgenstein's modal theorizing, Bradley offers a radical reinterpretation of Wittgenstein's early thought and presents both an interpretive and a philosophical thesis. A unique feature of Bradley's analysis is his reliance on Wittgenstein's Notebooks, which he believes offer indispensable guidance to the interpretation of difficult passages in the Tractatus. Bradley then goes on to argue that Wittgenstein's account of modality--and the related notion of possible worlds--is in fact superior to any of the (...) currently popular theories in this area. In this context, he examines and critiques the work of such figures as Adams, Carnap, Hintikka, Lewis, Rescher, and Stalnaker. (shrink)
In drawing on my own research and collaborative work with Karl Pribram, I show that love (affective attachment) and power (social control) play a central role in psychosocial evolution. When these relations are coupled in a self-regulating system of cooperative interactions, brain growth is stimulated, mind and agency develop, and stable forms of collective social organization are generated. Focusing on the endogenous dynamics of social collectives, the article is organized in four parts. (A "social collective" is defined as a (...) durable arrangement of relations among two or more individuals that is distinguished by shared membership and collaboration in relation to a common function or goal.) Part I summarizes evidence from developmental neuropsychology and social science to show that stable psychosocial organization, across the human life span, is associated with social interaction organized along two dimensions. One dimension involves love, positive affective attachment, and the second involves power, social regulation of the aroused affective energy. Part II draws on Piaget's theory of cooperation and Bradley and Pribrams' theory of communication to describe how mind and agency are generated, and how stable organization is produced, respectively, from the relations involved in the arousal and regulation of affective energy. Combining elements of the two theories, Part III presents a sketch of a holographic model of collective organization in which goal-directed behavior is generated by a feed-forward process involving imaging and information processing of interaction along the two dimensions. Part IV shows how the model accounts for the emergence of human agency within the context of a more general evolutionary theory, such as Laszlo's. The article concludes with a discussion of my approach for building a "fully human theory of evolution.". (shrink)
The Doomsday Argument says we should increase our subjective probability that Doomsday will occur once we take into account how many humans have lived before us. One objection to this conclusion is that we should accept the Self-Indication Assumption (SIA): Given the fact that you exist, you should (other things equal) favor hypotheses according to which many observers exist over hypotheses on which few observers exist. Nick Bostrom argues that we should not accept the SIA, because it can be used (...) without knowledge of birth rank. Bradley Monton tries to construct a Doomsday Argument without knowledge of birth rank. I argue that Monton fails. The argument he constructs has implicit knowledge of birth rank and it is this knowledge that does the work. Furthermore, I argue that provided we dont have certain specific information about the future, the Doomsday Argument requires knowledge of birth rank. (shrink)
This selection from the writings of the great English idealist philosopher F.H. Bradley, on truth, meaning knowledge, and metaphysics, provides within covers of a single volume a selection of original texts that will enable the reader to obtain a firsthand and comprehensive grasp of his thought. In addition, the editors have contributed general introductions to Bradley's logic and metaphysics and particular introductions to specific topics. These provide a systematic explanation of his thought and relate it to developments wihin (...) the recent history of analytical philosophy, giving the reader a framework in which to read and appreciate this important and sometimes difficult writing. Admirably suited for use both as a textbook in taught courses on recent philosophy and for individual study, this introduction comes at a time when Bradley's thought is being reassessed and the importance o his work appreciated once more. As one of only two volumes of Bradley's works available, it is sure to become an essential Bradley reader. (shrink)
Epicurus seems to have thought that death is not bad for the one who dies, since its badness cannot be located in time. I show that Epicurus’ argument presupposes Presentism, and I argue that death is bad for its victim at all and only those times when the person would have been living a life worth living had she not died when she did. I argue that my account is superior to competing accounts given by Thomas Nagel, Fred Feldman and (...) Neil Feit. (shrink)
To answer the question, we need first to consider the notion of necessity and the related notion of contingency. These are so-called "modal" notions. Other modal notions include those of possibility, impossibility, non-necessity, and noncontingency. All play a crucial role in philosophical thinking about matters to do with logic, metaphysics, morality, law, etc. This is because none of these modal notions is univocal in meaning. There are, so to speak, different "species" of the generic notions of necessity, contingency, possibility, and (...) the rest. (shrink)
The move to satisficing has been thought to help consequentialists avoid the problem of demandingness. But this is a mistake. In this article I formulate several versions of satisficing consequentialism. I show that every version is unacceptable, because every version permits agents to bring about a submaximal outcome in order to prevent a better outcome from obtaining. Some satisficers try to avoid this problem by incorporating a notion of personal sacrifice into the view. I show that these attempts are unsuccessful. (...) I conclude that, if satisficing consequentialism is to remain a position worth considering, satisficers must show (i) that the move to satisficing is necessary to solve some problem, whether it be the demandingness problem or some other problem, and (ii) that there is a version of the view that does not permit the gratuitous prevention of goodness. (shrink)
I argue that four problems that appear to be very different have the same structure. I give a unified treatment of the Doomsday Argument, Sleeping Beauty, the Fine-tuning Argument and confirmation in the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. All these cases involve self-locating evidence. However, the confusing feature of all these cases is not self-location, but observation selection effects. I explain how observation selection effects operate, why they affect the four problem cases, and how they can be incorporated into confirmation (...) theory. I will defend the Doomsday Argument, the halfer position in Sleeping Beauty, the Fine-tuning Argument and the applicability of confirmation theory to the Everett interpretation of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
The fine-tuning argument can be used to support the Many Universe hypothesis. The Inverse Gambler’s Fallacy objection seeks to undercut the support for the Many Universe hypothesis. The objection is that although the evidence that there is life somewhere confirms Many Universes, the specific evidence that there is life in this universe does not. I will argue that the Inverse Gambler’s Fallacy is not committed by the fine-tuning argument. The key issue is the procedure by which the universe with life (...) is selected for observation. Once we take account of the procedure, we find that the support for the Many Universe hypothesis remains. (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)
Virtue consequentialism has been held by many prominent philosophers, but has never been properly formulated. I criticize Julia Driver's formulation of virtue consequentialism and offer an alternative. I maintain that according to the best version of virtue consequentialism, attributions of virtue are really disguised comparisons between two character traits, and the consequences of a trait in non-actual circumstances may affect its actual status as a virtue or vice. Such a view best enables the consequentialist to account for moral luck, unexemplified (...) virtues, and virtues and vices involving the prevention of goodness and badness. (shrink)
A frequent objection to the fine-tuning argument has been that although certain necessary conditions for life were admittedly exceedingly improbable, still, the many possible alternative sets of conditions were all equally improbable, so that no special significance is to be attached to the realization of the conditions of life. Some authors, however, have rejected this objection as fallacious. The object of this paper is to state the objection to the fine-tuning argument in a more telling form than has been done (...) hitherto, and to meet the charge of fallacy. (shrink)
It is not at all obvious how best to draw the distinction between conditional and unconditional desires. In this paper we examine extant attempts to analyse conditional desire. From the failures of those attempts, we draw a moral that leads us to the correct account of conditional desires. We then extend the account of conditional desires to an account of all desires. It emerges that desires do not have the structure that they have been thought to have. We attempt to (...) explain the distinction between intrinsic and extrinsic desire in light of our account of desire. We show how to use our account to solve Wollheim's paradox of democracy and to save modus ponens. Finally, we extend the account of desire to related phenomena, such as conditional promises, intentions, and commands. (shrink)
Recent literature on intrinsic value contains a number of disputes about the nature of the concept. On the one hand, there are those who think states of affairs, such as states of pleasure or desire satisfaction, are the bearers of intrinsic value (“Mooreans”); on the other hand, there are those who think concrete objects, like people, are intrinsically valuable (“Kantians”). The contention of this paper is that there is not a single concept of intrinsic value about which Mooreans and Kantians (...) have disagreed, but rather two distinct concepts. I state a number of principles about intrinsic value that have typically (though not universally) been held by Mooreans, all of which are typically denied by Kantians. I show that there are distinct theoretical roles for a concept of intrinsic value to play in a moral framework. When we notice these distinct theoretical roles, we should realize that there is room for two distinct concepts of intrinsic value within a single moral framework: one that accords with some or all of the Moorean principles, and one that does not. (shrink)
Accoding to G.E. Moore, something''s intrinsic valuedepends solely on its intrinsic nature. Recently Thomas Hurka andShelly Kagan have argued, contra Moore, that something''s intrinsic valuemay depend on its extrinsic properties. Call this view the ConditionalView of intrinsic value. In this paper I demonstrate how a Mooreancan account for purported counterexamples given by Hurka and Kagan. I thenargue that certain organic unities pose difficulties for the ConditionalView.
The question before us is "Can there be an objective morality without God?" By the term "God" we shall mean the God in whom Christians believe, the God of the Bible, not some abstract Higher Power or New Age deity. Dr. Chamberlain believes that the biblical God exists, and that if he didn't exist, there could be no objective moral truths. For myself, I once believed in such a God, but no longer do. My non-belief, however, doesn't mean that I (...) am a moral nihilist, denying that statements about right and wrong are ever objectively true. On the contrary I will argue that there can be objective ethics in the absence of any god whatever. And I'll argue, further, that the existence of objective moral truths actually requires the non-existence of such a God. (shrink)
A popular view about why death is bad for the one who dies is that death deprives its subject of the good things in life. This is the “deprivation account” of the evil of death. There is another view about death that seems incompatible with the deprivation account: the view that a person’s death is less bad if she has lived a good life. In The Ethics of Killing, Jeff McMahan argues that a deprivation account should discount the evil of (...) death for previous gains in life. I argue against discounting evils, and show how a version of the deprivation view can accommodate McMahan’s examples. (shrink)
Sometimes we learn what the world is like, and sometimes we learn where in the world we are. Are there any interesting differences between the two kinds of cases? The main aim of this article is to argue that learning where we are in the world brings into view the same kind of observation selection effects that operate when sampling from a population. I will first explain what observation selection effects are ( Section 1 ) and how they are relevant (...) to learning where we are in the world ( Section 2 ). I will show how measurements in the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics can be understood as learning where you are in the world via some observation selection effect ( Section 3 ). I will apply a similar argument to the Sleeping Beauty Problem ( Section 4 ) and explain what I take the significance of the analogy to be ( Section 5 ). Finally, I will defend the Restricted Principle of Indifference on which some of my arguments depend ( Section 6 ). (shrink)
If an agent believes that the probability of E being true is 1/2, should she accept a bet on E at even odds or better? Yes, but only given certain conditions. This paper is about what those conditions are. In particular, we think that there is a condition that has been overlooked so far in the literature. We discovered it in response to a paper by Hitchcock (2004) in which he argues for the 1/3 answer to the Sleeping Beauty problem. (...) Hitchcock argues that this credence follows from calculating her fair betting odds, plus the assumption that Sleeping Beauty’s credences should track her fair betting odds. We will show that this last assumption is false. Sleeping Beauty’s credences should not follow her fair betting odds due to a peculiar feature of her epistemic situation. (shrink)
On Hume’s account of motivation, beliefs and desires are very di¤erent kinds of propositional attitudes. Beliefs are cognitive attitudes, desires emotive ones. An agent’s belief in a proposition captures the weight he or she assigns to this proposition in his or her cognitive representation of the world. An agent’s desire for a proposition captures the degree to which he or she prefers its truth, motivating him or her to act accordingly. Although beliefs and desires are sometimes entangled, they play very (...) di¤erent roles in rational agency.1 In two classic papers (Lewis 1988, 1996), David Lewis discusses several challenges to this Humean picture, but ultimately rejects them. We think that his discussion of a central anti-Humean alternative – the desire-as-belief thesis – is in need of re…nement. On this thesis, the desire for proposition p is given by the belief that p is desirable. Lewis claims that ‘[e]xcept in trivial cases, [this thesis] collapses into contradiction’(Lewis 1996, p. 308). The problem, he argues, is that the thesis is inconsistent with the purportedly plausible requirement that one’s desire for a proposition should not change upon learning that the proposition is true; call this the invariance requirement. In this paper, we revisit Lewis’s argument. We show that, if one carefully distinguishes between non-evaluative and evaluative propositions, the desire-asbelief thesis can be rendered consistent with the invariance requirement. Lewis’s conclusion holds only under certain conditions: the desire-as-belief thesis con- ‡icts with the invariance requirement if and only if there are certain correlations between non-evaluative and evaluative propositions. But when there are such correlations, we suggest, the invariance requirement loses its plausibility. Thus Lewis’s argument against the desire-as-belief thesis appears to be valid only in cases in which it is unsound. (shrink)
Some Christians do in fact think of the question euphemistically, like this. And some like to suppose, further, that when the children find that Hawaii is a bit like hell - it's far too hot and the locals are giving them a hard time - Father will relent and welcome them to his mansions on high.
1. The Down Under Logical Disproof of the Theist's God 1.1 Plantinga's Attempted Refutation of the Logical Disproof 1.2 Plantinga Refuted and God Disproved: A Preview 2. Plantinga's Formal Presentation of his Free Will Defense 3. First Formal Flaw: A Non Sequitur Regarding the Consistency of (3) with (1) 4. Further Flaws Regarding the Joint Conditions of Consistency and Entailment 4.1 A Non Sequitur Regarding the Entailment Condition 4.2 Telling the Full Story in Order to Satisfy the Entailment Condition 4.3 (...) Two Non Sequiturs Involving the Consistency Condition 4.4 The Russell Scenario: A Refutation by Logical Analogy 5. Plantinga's Leibnizian Definition of Omnipotence 5.1 Logical Consequences of the Definition 5.2 Why Leibniz Didn't Lapse 5.3 A Fatal Equivocation Over the Scope of Transworld Depravity 5.4 It Was All "Up to God" 5.5 The Distinction Between Absolute and Consequential Modalities 5.6 Plantinga's Ploy 5.7 Plantinga's Modal Muddle 5.8 Interlude on the Prevalence of the Modal Muddle 5.9 Back to Plantinga's Modal Muddle 5.10 Interim Verdict 6. Judgment Day: God Almighty and All Knowing Not Morally Perfect.. (shrink)
Jeff McMahan says it's worse to die as a twenty-year-old than as a baby. I argue that he is wrong, and that in general it is worse to die the younger you are. I show that among other problems, views like McMahan's are incompatible with the idea that there is value in narrative unity or the shape of a life.
How do temporal and eternal beliefs interact? I argue that acquiring a temporal belief should have no effect on eternal beliefs for an important range of cases. Thus, I oppose the popular view that new norms of belief change must be introduced for cases where the only change is the passing of time. I defend this position from the purported counter-examples of the Prisoner and Sleeping Beauty. I distinguish two importantly different ways in which temporal beliefs can be acquired and (...) draw some general conclusions about their impact on eternal beliefs. (shrink)
This paper considers the Bayesian form of the fine-tuning argument as advanced by Richard Swinburne. An expository section aims to identify the precise character of the argument, and three lines of objection are then advanced. The first of these holds that there is an inconsistency in Swinburne's procedure, the second that his argument has an unacceptable dependence on an objectivist theory of value, the third that his method is powerless to single out traditional theism from a vast number of (...) competitors. In the final section of the paper the fine-tuning argument is considered, not now as self-standing, but as one of a number of theistic arguments taken together and applied in the manner of the final chapter of Swinburne's The Existence of God. It is argued that points already made also block the way for this line of thought. (shrink)
Sometimes people desire that their lives go badly, take pleasure in their lives going badly, or believe that their lives are going badly. As a result, some popular theories of welfare are paradoxical. I show that no attempt to defend those theories from the paradox fully succeeds.
Many things in the natural world work so well that they seem to have been designed. But by what? Could nature itself, by processes including those of evolution, be the designer? Or must their complex structure and function be attributed to some intelligent designer or God? Is natural design compatible with intelligent design? How good is the argument from the presence of design to an intelligent designer? And if we could legitimately infer the probable existence of an intelligent designer from (...) the presence of design in the natural world, what could we then infer about that designer's nature? (shrink)
Infinite regress arguments are used by philosophers as methods of refutation. A hypothesis is defective if it generates an infinite series when either such a series does not exist or its supposed existence would not serve the explanatory purpose for which it was postulated.
I argue that there is a flaw in the way that response-dependence has been formulated in the literature, and this flawed formulation has been correctly attacked by Mark Johnston’s Missing Explanation Argument. Moving to a better formulation, which is analogous to the move from behaviourism to functionalism, avoids the Missing Explanation Argument.
Decision theory is concerned with how agents should act when the consequences of their actions are uncertain. The central principle of contemporary decision theory is that the rational choice is the choice that maximizes subjective expected utility. This entry explains what this means, and discusses the philosophical motivations and consequences of the theory. The entry will consider some of the main problems and paradoxes that decision theory faces, and some of responses that can be given. Finally the entry will briefly (...) consider how decision theory applies to choices involving more than one agent. (shrink)
According to the Ramsey Test hypothesis the conditional claim that if A then B is credible just in case it is credible that B, on the supposition that A. If true the hypothesis helps explain the way in which we evaluate and use ordinary language conditionals. But impossibility results for the Ramsey Test hypothesis in its various forms suggest that it is untenable. In this paper, I argue that these results do not in fact have this implication, on (...) the grounds that similar results can be proved without recourse to the Ramsey test hypothesis. Instead they show that a number of well entrenched principles of rational belief and belief revision do not apply to conditionals. (shrink)
Colin Howson (1995 ) offers a counter-example to the rule of conditionalization. I will argue that the counter-example doesn't hit its target. The problem is that Howson mis-describes the total evidence the agent has. In particular, Howson overlooks how the restriction that the agent learn 'E and nothing else' interacts with the de se evidence 'I have learnt E'.
[Abstract: Anti-realism – the denial that reality exists apart from our conceptions of it – is rampant, not just among Postmodernists and other literati, but also among many of the leading spokesmen of orthodox quantum theory – from Born, Bohr, and Heisenberg to Wheeler and Wigner. Undoubtedly they've done good physics. Why, then, do they indulge in bad metaphysics? This paper offers some answers.].
Diversity of opinion both presents problems and aff ords opportunities. Diff erences of opinion can stand in the way of reaching an agreement within a group on what decisions to take. But at the same time, the fact that the differences in question could derive from access to different information or from the exercise of diff erent judgemental skills means that they present individuals with the opportunity to improve their own opinions. This paper explores the implications for solutions to the (...) former (aggregation) problem of supposing that individuals exploit these opportunities. In particular, it argues that rational individual revision of opinion implies that aggregation problems are unstable in a certain sense and that solving them by exploiting the information embedded in individual opinion has profound implications for the conditions that we should impose on aggregation procedures. (shrink)
It began in 1945 when I was a 14 year old at Mt Albert Grammar. Our Fourth Form English teacher decided we should learn the skills of debating. The topic chosen was "Creation versus Evolution". And I, as an ardent young Baptist, volunteered, along with a Seventh Day Adventist, to take up the cudgels on behalf of Creation.
Although most cogently formulated by philosophers such as St Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), al Ghazali (1058-1111), and Gottfried Leibniz (1646- 1716), cosmological arguments have a powerful appeal also to those nonphilosophers who feel that the "ultimate" explanation for the existence of the natural universe is that it was created by some sort of supernatural entity, viz., God.
Beauty is about to be drugged, rendering her unconscious for a long time. During that time she will be awakened briefly, either once (on Monday) or twice (on Monday and Tuesday). The number of awakenings depends on the toss of a fair coin: if the result is Tails, she is awakened twice: if Heads, once. The nature of the drug is that she will not remember being awake. In particular, when she is awakened, she will not know whether it is (...) Monday or Tuesday. Upon awakening on Monday, what should her degree of belief be that the coin landed Heads? (shrink)
For more than four decades, many Anglo-American philosophers have been held in thrall by a captivating metaphor, Quine's holistic image of the man-made fabric (or web) of knowledge and belief within which no statement is absolutely immune to revision. And many have been led to think that the following three distinctions are indefensible: (i) that between sentences and the propositions that they express; (ii) that between necessary and contingent propositions; and (iii) that between a priori and empirical knowledge.
The belief in fatalism, like many others, has its roots in the quasi-religious mythologies of ancient peoples many of whom personified the notion of fate. Thus Greek mythology supposed that three Fates, daughters of the goddess of Necessity, had control of our lives from beginning to end and that it was therefore impossible for us to do anything contrary to what they had prescribed for us. We may think we are in control of our own destinies. But we are mistaken. (...) Both Homer's Odysseus and Aeschelus's Prometheus Unbound, depict mortals as puppets of the gods. (shrink)
In sum, then, Chalmers’s attempt to argue against physicalism based on the conceivability of zombies misses the mark. His version of conceivability does indeed imply possibility, but at the cost of making it unclear whether zombies are indeed conceivable.
According to color realism, object colors are mind-independent properties that cover surfaces or permeate volumes of objects. In recent years, some color scientists and a growing number of philosophers have opposed this view on the grounds that realism about color cannot accommodate the apparent unitary/binary structure of the hues. For example, Larry Hardin asserts,
the unitary-binary structure of the colors as we experience them corresponds to no known physical structure lying outside nervous systems that is causally involved (...) in the perception of color. This makes it very difficult to subscribe to a color realism that is supposed to be about red, green, blue, black, and white—that is, the colors with which we are perceptually acquainted.1
This article examines Becker's thesis that the hypothesis that choices maximize expected utility relative to fixed and universal tastes provides a general framework for the explanation of behaviour. Three different models of preference revision are presented and their scope evaluated. The first, the classical conditioning model, explains all changes in preferences in terms of changes in the information held by the agent, holding fundamental beliefs and desires fixed. The second, the Jeffrey conditioning model, explains them in terms of changes in (...) both the information held by the agent and changes in her prior beliefs, holding her fundamental desires fixed. The final model, that of generalized conditioning, allows for explanations in terms of changes in the values of all three variables. Key Words: preference change • decision theory • probability • desirability • attitude change. (shrink)
First: there is ample precedent for what I am doing. Socrates, for example, examined the religious beliefs of his contemporaries-- especially the belief that we ought to do what the gods command--and showed them to be both ill-founded and conceptually confused. I wish to follow in his footsteps though not to share in his fate. A glass of wine, not of poison, would be my preferred reward.
How should we update our beliefs when we learn new evidence? Bayesian confirmation theory provides a widely accepted and well understood answer – we should conditionalize. But this theory has a problem with self-locating beliefs, beliefs that tell you where you are in the world, as opposed to what the world is like. To see the problem, consider your current belief that it is January. You might be absolutely, 100%, sure that it is January. But you will soon believe it (...) is February. This type of belief change cannot be modelled by conditionalization. We need some new principles of belief change for this kind of case, which I call belief mutation. In part 1, I defend the Relevance-Limiting Thesis, which says that a change in a purely self-locating belief of the kind that results in belief mutation should not shift your degree of belief in a non-self-locating belief, which can only change by conditionalization. My method is to give detailed analyses of the puzzles which threaten this thesis: Duplication, Sleeping Beauty, and The Prisoner. This also requires giving my own theory of observation selection effects. In part 2, I argue that when self-locating evidence is learnt from a position of uncertainty, it should be conditionalized on in the normal way. I defend this position by applying it to various cases where such evidence is found. I defend the Halfer position in Sleeping Beauty, and I defend the Doomsday Argument and the Fine-Tuning Argument. (shrink)
He did so because he had long disagreed with a lot of the most important and influential physicists of his time, about the interpretation of that area of physics known as quantum physics that deals with the behaviour of objects in the microphysical, subatomic, world. Many of these physicists were committed to an interpretation from which it follows that nothing - the moon included - exists unless it is being observed. Einstein wanted to know whether Pais was on his side (...) or theirs. (shrink)
In Goodness and Justice, Joseph Mendola defends three related views in normative ethics: a novel form of consequentialism, a Bentham-style hedonism about “basic” value, and a maximin principle about the value of a world. In defending these views he draws on his views in metaethics, action theory, and the philosophy of mind. It is an ambitious and wide-ranging book. I begin with a quick explanation of Mendola’s views, and then raise some problems.
By "a possible world" philosophers mean a total state of affairs in the conception of which no contradiction is involved. Our own world - the real world, the actual one - is just one of many possible worlds. Indeed, it is just one of infinitely many, since for any possible world containing say n atoms there is another logically possible world containing n+1 atoms, and so on ad infinitum. All possible worlds other than the actual world we inhabit are nonactual.
Adams' famous thesis that the probabilities of conditionals are conditional probabilities is incompatible with standard probability theory. Indeed it is incompatible with any system of monotonic conditional probability satisfying the usual multiplication rule for conditional probabilities. This paper explores the possibility of accommodating Adams' thesis in systems of non-monotonic probability of varying strength. It shows that such systems impose many familiar lattice theoretic properties on their models as well as yielding interesting logics of conditionals, but that a standard complementation operation (...) cannot be defined within them, on pain of collapsing probability into bivalence. (shrink)
Philosophers have long sought to explain perceptual constancy—the fact that objects appear to remain the same color, size and shape despite changes in the illumination condition, perspective and the relative distance—in terms of a mechanism that actively categorizes variable stimuli under the same pre-formed conceptual categories. Contemporary representationalists, on the other hand, explain perceptual constancy in terms of a modular mechanism that automatically discounts variation in the visual field to represent the stable properties of objects. In this paper I argue (...) that while the former view is unmotivated by empirical evidence, the later fails to account for inter- and intra-personal variability, the influence of expectations on constancy, and the systematic and normal failures of color constancy. A Bayesian approach that builds on the representational tradition in psychology solves both problems. (shrink)
Adams Thesis has much evidence in its favour, but David Lewis famously showed that it cannot be true, in all but the most trivial of cases, if conditionals are proprositions and their probabilities are classical probabilities of truth. In this paper I show thatsimilar results can be constructed for a much wider class of conditionals. The fact that these results presuppose that the logic of conditionals is Boolean motivates a search for a non-Boolean alternative. It is argued that the exact (...) proposition expressed by a conditional depends on the context in which it is uttered. Consequentlyits probability of truth will depend not only on the probabilities of the various propositions it might express, but also on the probabilities of the contexts determining which proposition it does in fact express.The semantic theory developed from this is then shown to explain why agents degrees of belief satisfyAdams Thesis. Finally the theory is compared with proposals for a three-valued logic of conditionals. (shrink)
This paper provides new foundations for Bayesian Decision Theory based on a representation theorem for preferences defined on a set of prospects containing both factual and conditional possibilities. This use of a rich set of prospects not only provides a framework within which the main theoretical claims of Savage, Ramsey, Jeffrey and others can be stated and compared, but also allows for the postulation of an extended Bayesian model of rational belief and desire from which they can be derived as (...) special cases. The main theorem of the paper establishes the existence of a such a Bayesian representation of preferences over conditional prospects, i.e. the existence of a pair of real-valued functions respectively measuring the agent’s degrees of belief and desire and which satisfy the postulated rationality conditions on partial belief and desire. The representation of partial belief is shown to be unique and that of partial desire, unique up to a linear transformation. (shrink)
Foundations of Bayesianism is an authoritative collection of papers addressing the key challenges that face the Bayesian interpretation of probability today. Some of these papers seek to clarify the relationships between Bayesian, causal and logical reasoning. Others consider the application of Bayesianism to artificial intelligence, decision theory, statistics and the philosophy of science and mathematics. The volume includes important criticisms of Bayesian reasoning and also gives an insight into some of the points of disagreement amongst advocates of the Bayesian approach. (...) The upshot is a plethora of new problems and directions for Bayesians to pursue.The book will be of interest to graduate students or researchers who wish to learn more about Bayesianism than can be provided by introductory textbooks to the subject. Those involved with the applications of Bayesian reasoning will find essential discussion on the validity of Bayesianism and its limits, while philosophers and others interested in pure reasoning will find new ideas on normativity and the logic of belief. (shrink)
Richard Jeffrey regarded the version of Bayesian decision theory he floated in ‘The Logic of Decision’ and the idea of a probability kinematics—a generalisation of Bayesian conditioning to contexts in which the evidence is ‘uncertain’—as his two most important contributions to philosophy. This paper aims to connect them by developing kinematical models for the study of preference change and practical deliberation. Preference change is treated in a manner analogous to Jeffrey’s handling of belief change: not as mechanical outputs of combinations (...) of intrinsic desires plus information, but as a matter of judgement and of making up one’s mind. In the first section Jeffrey’s probability kinematics is motivated and extended to the treatment of changes in conditional belief. In the second, analogous kinematical models are developed for preference change and in particular belief-induced change that depends on an invariance condition for conditional preference. The two are the brought together in the last section in a tentative model of pratical deliberation. (shrink)
There has been much recent discussion about how to model agents who learn selflocating beliefs. I argue that there are two different ways self-locating beliefs can be learnt. One of these ways – which I call belief mutation – is unique to selflocating beliefs, and presents a challenge to conditionalization. I defend conditionalization from purported violations in the Prisoner and Sleeping Beauty thought experiments, and argue that belief mutation should never change an agent’s degree of belief in any non-self-locating proposition.
I come not to praise God but to bury him along with the dead gods of now forgotten religions. Not to praise him as the source of all that's good in the world, and hence the ultimate guide to human morals, but to indict him as the self-confessed source of all that's wrong with it. When the Christian God says in his Holy Scriptures, that he is the creator of evil, I am prepared to take him at his word.
First published in 1876, this forceful and vigorous classic of English moral philosophy, written in opposition to Utilitarianism by one of England's most eminent philosophers, is now available for the first time since 1977.
This work seeks to explain intuitive perception - those perceptions that are not based on reason or logic or on memories or extrapolations from the past, but are based, instead, on accurate foreknowledge of the future. Often such intuitive foreknowledge involves perception of implicit information about nonlocal objects and/or events by the body's psychophysiological systems. Recent experiments have shown that intuitive perception of a future event is related to the degree of emotional significance of that event, and a new study (...) shows that both the brain and the heart are involved in processing a pre-stimulus emotional response to the future event. Drawing on this research and on the principles of quantum holography, I develop a theory of intuition that views the perception of things remote in space or ahead in time (nonlocal communication) as involving processes of energetic resonance connecting the body's psychophysiological systems to the quantum level. The theory explains how focused emotional attention directed to the nonlocal object of interest attunes the bio-emotional energy generated by the body's psychophysiological systems to a domain of quantum-holographical information, which contains implicit information about the object. The body's perception of such implicit information about things distant in space/time is experienced as an intuition. (shrink)
His disagreements with them were philosophical. Just as he rejected their claim that experimental results in quantum mechanics implied that nothing exists unless it is being observed by a conscious human being, so also he disagreed with their claim that these results implied that the so-called “deterministic” philosophy of Newtonian mechanics was false.
Back in 1922, American essayist H. L. Mencken wrote a little essay titled "Memorial Service". Here's how he began: Where is the graveyard of dead gods? What lingering mourner waters their mounds? There was a day when Jupiter was the king of the gods, and any man who doubted his puissance [power] was ipso facto a barbarian and an ignoramus. But where in all the world is there a man who worships Jupiter today? And what of Huitzilopochtli [wee-tsee-lohpoch'-tlee]? In one (...) year-- and it is no more than five hundred years ago--50,000 youths and maidens were slain in sacrifice to him. Mencken went on to name a total of 189 pagan gods.1 He told how millions worshipped them; how men laboured for generations to build them vast temples; how priests, evangelists, bishops, and archbishops served them; how to doubt them was to die, usually at the stake; how armies took to the fields to defend them against infidels; and how villages were burned, women and children slaughtered, and cattle driven off. All these, he pointed out in conclusion: were gods of the highest standing and dignity--gods of civilized peoples--worshipped and believed in by millions. All were theoretically omnipotent, omniscient, and immortal. And all are dead. The death of the gods. (shrink)