John Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding is among the most important books in philosophy ever written. It is a difficult work dealing with many themes, including the origin of ideas; the extent and limits of human knowledge; the philosophy of perception; and religion and morality. This volume focuses on the last two topics and provides a clear and insightful survey of these overlooked aspects of Locke's best-known work. Four eminent Locke scholars present authoritative discussions of Locke's view on the (...) ethics of belief, personal identity, free will and moral theory. (shrink)
In “Double Vision Two Questions about the Neo-Fregean Programme”, John MacFarlane’s raises two main questions: (1) Why is it so important to neo-Fregeans to treat expressions of the form ‘the number of Fs’ as a species of singular term? What would be lost, if anything, if they were analysed instead as a type of quantifier-phrase, as on Russell’s Theory of Definite Descriptions? and (2) Granting—at least for the sake of argument—that Hume’s Principle may be used as a means of (...) implicitly defining the number operator, what advantage, if any, does adopting this course possess over a direct stipulation of the Dedekind-Peano axioms? This paper attempts to answer them. In response to the first, we spell out the links between the recognition of numerical terms as vehicles of singular reference and the conception of numbers as possible objects of singular, or object-directed, thought, and the role of the acknowledgement of numbers as objects in the neo-Fregean attempt to justify the basic laws of arithmetic. In response to the second, we argue that the crucial issue concerns the capacity of either stipulation—of Hume’s Principle, or of the Dedekind-Peano axioms—to found knowledge of the principles involved, and that in this regard there are crucial differences which explain why the former stipulation can, but the latter cannot, play the required foundational role. (shrink)
It has often been suggested that people's ordinary understanding of morality involves a belief in objective moral truths and a rejection of moral relativism. The results of six studies call this claim into question. Participants did offer apparently objectivist moral intuitions when considering individuals from their own culture, but they offered increasingly relativist intuitions considering individuals from increasingly different cultures or ways of life. The authors hypothesize that people do not have a fixed commitment to moral objectivism but instead tend (...) to adopt different views depending on the degree to which they consider radically different perspectives on moral questions. (shrink)
It has been claimed that the attempt to analyze know-how in terms of propositional knowledge over-intellectualizes the mind. Exploiting the methods of so-called “experimental philosophy”, we show that the charge of over-intellectualization is baseless. Contra neo-Ryleans, who analyze know-how in terms of ability, the concrete-case judgments of ordinary folk are most consistent with the view that there exists a set of correct necessary and sufficient conditions for know-how that does not invoke ability, but rather a certain sort of propositional knowledge. (...) To the extent that one’s considered judgments agree with those of the folk (or to the extent that one is unwilling to contravene widespread judgments), this constitutes a strong prima facie case against neo-Ryleanism. (shrink)
Abstract: Recent experimental research on the 'Knobe effect' suggests, somewhat surprisingly, that there is a bi-directional relation between attributions of intentional action and evaluative considerations. We defend a novel account of this phenomenon that exploits two factors: (i) an intuitive asymmetry in judgments of responsibility (e.g. praise/blame) and (ii) the fact that intentionality commonly connects the evaluative status of actions to the responsibility of actors. We present the results of several new studies that provide empirical evidence in support of this (...) account while disconfirming various currently prominent alternative accounts. We end by discussing some implications of this account for folk psychology. (shrink)
This book is an important collection of new essays on various topics relating to realism and its rivals in metaphysics, logic, metaethics, and epistemology. The contributors include some of the leading authors in these fields and in several cases their essays constitute definitive statements of their views. In some cases authors write in response to the essays of other contributors, in other cases they proceed independently. Although not primarily historical this collection includes discussions of philosophers from the middle ages to (...) the present day, from Aquinas to Wittgenstein. No one seriously interested in questions about realism, whether as a general philosophical outlook or as a particular position within specific debates, can afford to be without this collection. (shrink)
Anything worth regarding as logicism about number theory holds that its fundamental laws – in effect, the Dedekind-Peano axioms – may be known on the basis of logic and definitions alone. For Frege, the logic in question was that of the Begriffschrift – effectively, full impredicative second order logic - together with the resources for dealing with the putatively “logical objects” provided by Basic Law V of Grundgesetze. With this machinery in place, and with the course-of-values operator governed by Basic (...) Law V counting as logical, it is possible for all the definitions involved in the logicist reconstruction of arithmetic and analysis to be fully explicit, abbreviative definitions. Had Frege’s project succeeded, he would therefore have been in position – by his own lights – to regard the axioms of number theory simply as definitional abbreviations of certain theorems of his pure logic. Basic Law V, as every interested party knows, is inconsistent. But twentieth century orthodoxy would have scorned its description as a law of logic in any case, purely on the grounds of its existential fecundity. Contemporary Neo-Fregeanism in the foundations of mathematics does not, in intention at least, pick any quarrel with the idea that pure logic should be ontologically austere. It does however maintain that the existence of the natural numbers and the real numbers as classically conceived, and thereby the truth of the traditional axioms of arithmetic and analysis, may still be known a priori on the basis of logic and definitions. For the purposes of this claim, logic is once again conceived as essentially the system of Begriffschrift. But Basic Law V is superseded by a variety of abstraction principles, of which Hume's Principle is the best known example, which we are regarded as free to lay down as true by way of determination of the meaning of the non-logical vocabulary that they contain. Thus — the idea is — the Dedekind-Peano axioms, for example, may be known, a priori, to be true by virtue of their derivation in pure logic from a principle which may be regarded as stipulatively true, and whose very stipulation may be regarded as conferring content upon the sole item of non-logical vocabulary – the cardinality operator – which it contains and thereby as conferring content upon Hume's Principle itself.. (shrink)
In the face of pluralism, moral constructivists attempt to salvage cognitivism by separating moral and ethical issues. Divergence over ethical issues, which concern the good life, would not threaten moral cognitivism, which is based on identifying generalizable interests as worthy of defending, using reason. Yet this approach falters given the inability of the constructivist to provide us a sure path by which to discern generalizable interests in difficult cases. Still, even if this approach to constructivism fails, cognitivist aspirations may not (...) be defeated if we can continue discursively in a project of identifying and appreciating the interests of others. Grasping the interests of others may require a transformation of moral sensibility such that agents recognize values they have not acknowledged before. This view calls for external moral discourse—that is, moral discourse that makes no appeal to an agent's present interests or desires but rather engages in description of the moral situation in hopes of bringing about a change in moral sensibility. (shrink)
Thomas Nagel has held that transcendence requires attaining a point of view stripped of features unique to our perspective. The aim of transcendence on this view is to get at reality as it is, independent of our contributions to it. I show this notion of transcendence to be incoherent, yet defend a contrasting notion of transcendence. As conceived here, transcendence does not require striving for an external, objective viewpoint on nature or looking at matters from someone else's or an impartial (...) point of view. On my view, which builds on the work of Iris Murdoch, transcendence consists of a refinement of our concepts and sensibility to make them more adequate to the individuals we encounter. (Published Online October 13 2005). (shrink)
Abstract In Wittgenstein: On Rules and Private Language, Saul Kripke argues for an extreme form of meaning scepticism. One influential reply to Kripke?s arguments was developed by David Lewis. The reply developed by Lewis makes use of the notion of mind-independent relations of similarity and difference. The aim of the paper is to argue that Lewis? reply is not satisfactory: the challenge to find a refutation of Kripke?s sceptical arguments remains unmet.
This paper replies to Peter Millican (Mind, 2009), who argues that Hume denies the possible existence of causal powers which underlie the regularities that we observe in nature. I argue that Hume's own philosophical views on causal power cannot be considered apart from his mitigated skepticism. His account of the origin of the idea of causal power, which traces it to a subjective impression, only leads to what he calls ‘Pyrrhonian scepticism’. He holds that we can only escape such excessive (...) skepticism by way of a natural judgment based on the association of ideas, which forms the basis of what he calls ‘a legitimate ground of Assent’. (shrink)
To be fully understood, contemporary forms of racism must be grasped as ethical ideologies rooted in an independent system of value classification. Racism does not merely result from an intrusion of strategic action on communicative action, as discourse ethicists might argue. In contemporary racism, the minority group is seen as perversely incapable of developing a capacity for the behavior that would constitute just moral reciprocity as decided in the contractual situation. Their standing as members of the moral community is thereby (...) qualilied To address racism discursively, the racist must be met with more than an abstract moral demand. Rather, racists must be confronted with the needs and capacities of the racial outsider, so that they might perceive her acts as virtuous and recognize the aptness of her use of value-concepts. (shrink)
In this paper, I take up Habermas’s recent writing on Rawls in Inclusion of the Other and focus on an example that Habermas discusses there, the Catholic stance on abortion. He brings in this example to question how such views could be rationally negotiated, under Rawls’s views of political liberalism, prior to arriving at an overlapping consensus. Habermas argues that Rawls must affirm the truth of moral constructivism in order to resolve the question of which conceptions of the good make (...) a valid claim on us. Though I have criticisms of how both Rawls and Habermas cast the issue of abortion, I argue that through properly understanding the role of the political ideal of citizenship in Rawls’s conception of political liberalism, we can find resources to contend with the problem Habermas finds here. I defend the capacity of political constructivism to resolve this issue without affirming the truth of moral constructivism. (shrink)
Introduction A brief look at the competing present-day interpretations of Hume's philosophy will leave the uninitiated reader completely baffled. On the one hand , Hume is seen as a philosopher who attempted to analyse concepts with ...
Machine generated contents note: Preface; 1. The author and the book; 2. First principles; 3. Causation; 4. Skepticism; 5. Determinism; 6. Passions, sympathy, and others' minds; 7. Motivation: reason and the calm passions; 8. Moral sense, reason, and moral skepticism; 9. The foundations of morals; Bibliography and further reading; Index.
7 The laat electian required that people vOted using a cOmpulsory preferential system, this is unfair and panders to the two major parties, lf I cannot choose which of the two large parties want less, my vote will, in many cases, run through..
Crispin Wright argues that John McDowell’s use of disjunctivism to respond to the sceptic misses the point of the sceptic’s argument, for disjunctivism is a thesis about the differing metaphysical natures of veridical and nonveridical experiences, whereas the sceptic’s point is that our beliefs are unjustified because veridical and nonveridical experiences can be phenomenally indistinguishable. In this paper, I argue that McDowell is responsive to the sceptic’s focus on phenomenology, for the point of McDowell’s response is that it is (...) the phenomenal character of experience that makes the belief in disjunctivism rational, and thereby also makes rational the anti-sceptical belief that, other things being equal, the world is the way it appears. (shrink)
I argue that the accounts of inference recently presented (in this journal) by Paul Boghossian, John Broome, and Crispin Wright are unsatisfactory. I proceed in two steps: First, in Sects. 1 and 2, I argue that we should not accept what Boghossian calls the “Taking Condition on inference” as a condition of adequacy for accounts of inference. I present a different condition of adequacy and argue that it is superior to the one offered by Boghossian. More precisely, I point (...) out that there is an analog of Moore’s Paradox for inference; and I suggest that explaining this phenomenon is a condition of adequacy for accounts of inference. Boghossian’s Taking Condition derives its plausibility from the fact that it apparently explains the analog of Moore’s Paradox. Second, in Sect. 3, I show that neither Boghossian’s, nor Broome’s, nor Wright’s account of inference meets my condition of adequacy. I distinguish two kinds of mistake one is likely to make if one does not focus on my condition of adequacy; and I argue that all three—Boghossian, Broome, and Wright—make at least one of these mistakes. (shrink)
A school of idealism: meditatio laici, by J. Cappon.--Beati possidentes, by R. M. Wenley.--Moral validity: a study in Platonism, by R. C. Lodge.--Plato and the poet's eidōla, by A. S. Ferguson.--Some reflections on Aristotle's theory of tragedy, by G. S. Brett.--The function of the phantasm in St. Thomas Aquinas, by H. Carr.--The development of the psychology of Maine de Biran, by N. J. Symons.--A plea for eclecticism, by H. W. Wright.--Some present-day tendencies in philosophy, by J. M. MacEachran.--Evolution and personality, (...) J. G. Hume.--Emergent realism, by J. Muirhead.--Bibliography of publications by Dr. John Watson (p. 343-346). (shrink)
John McDowell has argued that for human needs to matter in practical deliberation, we must have already acquired the full range of character traits that are imparted by an ethical upbringing. Since our upbringings can diverge considerably, his argument makes trouble for any Aristotelian ethical naturalism that wants to support a single set of moral virtues. I argue here that there is a story to be told about the normal course of human life according to which it is no (...) coincidence that there is agreement on the virtues. Because we are creatures who arrive at personhood only by learning from others in a relation of dependency, we cannot help but see ourselves as creatures for whom non-instrumental rationality is the norm. Those who train others in personhood must view the trainee's interests as having a value independent of their interests and must imbue the trainee with a sense of that value. Extending and preserving the sense of self-worth that we must acquire if we are to acquire personhood requires we see ourselves as creatures who need something like the virtues. (shrink)
In 1911, Drs John Freeman and Leonard Noon published an account of a novel treatment for hay fever. Their method of desensitisation consisted of injecting increasing doses of an extract of pollen subcutaneously until the hypersensitivity reaction was diminished or abolished. Over subsequent decades, desensitisation established itself as the cornerstone of clinical allergy in both England and the United States, at least until the advent of novel pharmaceutical agents in the 1950s and 1960s. Although British allergists such as Noon (...) and Freeman were aware of conceptual developments within European immunology and pathology (such as the identification of anaphylaxis by Richet and Portier or von Pirquet's coining of the term allergy), their approach to hay fever was driven by more immediate pragmatic, and indeed financial, considerations. Freeman's immersion in the problems of hay fever and asthma and his pioneering use of allergen desensitisation or immunotherapy were shaped by his adherence to the convictions and bacteriological practices of his principal at St Mary's Hospital, Almroth Wright, and by the drive to produce commercial vaccines which would help to subsidise the experimental and therapeutic work at St Mary's. The aim of this paper is to explore early twentieth-century approaches to hay fever and other allergic diseases by tracing the intellectual and institutional origins of clinical allergy in Britain. (shrink)
In this paper, I compare John Locke’s “memory theory” of personal identity and Memento (directed by Christopher Nolan). I argue that the plot of Memento is ambiguous, in that the main character (Leonard Shelby, played by Guy Pearce) seems to have two histories. As such, Memento is but a series of puzzle cases that intend to illustrate that, although our memories may not be chronologically related to one another, and may even be fused with the memories of other persons, (...) those memories still constitute personal identity. Just as Derek Parfit argues, perhaps there is no personal identity as such, since only survival (in some degree) matters to us. In Memento, Leonard Shelby is not identity to his former self, but survives to some extent. (shrink)
John Campbell argues that visual attention to objects is the means by which we can refer to objects, and that this is so because conscious visual attention enables us to retrieve information about a location. It is argued here that while Campbell is right to think that we visually attend to objects, he does not give us sufficient ground for thinking that consciousness is involved, and is wrong to assign an intermediary role to location. Campbell’s view on sortals is (...) also queried, as is his espousal of the so-called Referential View of Experience. (shrink)
Vol. 13 of John Dewey, The Later Works, brings this edition of Dewey's Collected Works to the fateful years 1938-1939. It contains three main texts Experience and Education, Freedom and Culture, and Theory of Valuation, plus essays and miscellany. The editors, Jo Ann Boydston and Barabara Levine, provide twenty-five pages of Appendices, and Steven M. Cahn has written and excellent Introduction. The hardback version includes a scholarly apparatus featured in each of the volumes of the series.
n 1909, the 50th anniversary of both the publication of Origin of the Species and his own birth, John Dewey published "The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy." This optimistic essay saw Darwin's advance not only as one of empirical or theoretical biology, but a logical and conceptual revolution that would shake every corner of philosophy. Dewey tells us less about the influence that Darwin exerted over philosophy over the past 50 years and instead prophesied the influence it would (or (...) should) take in the future. I will discuss this landmark paper and the key lessons Dewey draws from Darwinism for philosophy, and give a preliminary assessment of how well we've done so far. (Dewey would be largely disappointed.). (shrink)
In recent years, pragmatism in general and John Dewey in particular have been of increasing interest to philosophers of science. Dewey's work provides an interesting alternative package of views to those which derive from the logical empiricists and their critics, on problems of both traditional and more recent vintage. Dewey's work ought to be of special interest to recent philosophers of science committed to the program of analyzing ``science in practice.'' The core of Dewey's philosophy of science is his (...) theory of inquiry---what he called ``logic.'' There is a major lacuna in the literature on this point, however: no contemporary philosophers of science have engaged with Dewey's logical theory, and scholars of Dewey's logic have rarely made connections with philosophy of science. This paper aims to fill this gap, to correct some significant errors in the interpretation of key ideas in Dewey's logical theory, and to show how Dewey's logic provides resources for a philosophy of science. (shrink)
Some argue that humans should enhance their moral capacities by adopting institutions that facilitate morally good motives and behaviour. I have defended a parallel claim: that we could permissibly use biomedical technologies to enhance our moral capacities, for example by attenuating certain counter-moral emotions. John Harris has recently responded to my argument by raising three concerns about the direct modulation of emotions as a means to moral enhancement. He argues (1) that such means will be relatively ineffective in bringing (...) about moral improvements, (2) that direct modulation of emotions would invariably come at an unacceptable cost to our freedom, and (3) that we might end up modulating emotions in ways that actually lead to moral decline. In this article I outline some counter-intuitive potential implications of Harris' claims. I then respond individually to his three concerns, arguing that they license only the very weak conclusion that moral enhancement via direct emotion modulation is sometimes impermissible. However I acknowledge that his third concern might, with further argument, be developed into a more troubling objection to such enhancements. (shrink)
In the past five years, there have been a series of papers in the journal Evolution debating the relative significance of two theories of evolution, a neo-Fisherian and a neo-Wrightian theory, where the neo-Fisherians make explicit appeal to parsimony. My aim in this paper is to determine how we can make sense of such an appeal. One interpretation of parsimony takes it that a theory that contains fewer entities or processes, (however we demarcate these) is more parsimonious. On the account (...) that I defend here, parsimony is a ‘local’ virtue. Scientists’ appeals to parsimony are not necessarily an appeal to a theory’s simplicity in the sense of it’s positing fewer mechanisms. Rather, parsimony may be proxy for greater probability or likelihood. I argue that the neo-Fisherians appeal is best understood on this interpretation. And indeed, if we interpret parsimony as either prior probability or likelihood, then we can make better sense of Coyne et al. argument that Wright’s three phase process operates relatively infrequently. (shrink)
John Bickle's new book on philosophy and neuroscience is aptly subtitled 'a ruthlessly reductive account'. His 'new wave metascience' is a massive attack on the relative autonomy that psychology enjoyed until recently, and goes even beyond his previous (Bickle, J. (1998). Psychoneural reduction: The new wave. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.) new wave reductionsism. Reduction of functional psychology to (cognitive) neuroscience is no longer ruthless enough; we should now look rather to cellular or molecular neuroscience at the lowest possible level (...) for explanations of memory, consciousness and attention. Bickle presents a fascinating set of experimental cases of such molecule-to-mind explanations. This book qualifies as a showcase of naturalism in the philosophy of mind. Naturally, many of the traditional conceptual approaches in the philosophy of mind are given short shrift, but - in Bickle's metascientific scheme - the role of philosophy of science also seems reduced to explicating laboratory findings. The present reviewers think that this reductionism suffers from overstretching; in particular, the idea of 'explanation in a single bound' from molecule to mind is a bit too ruthless. Still, Bickle's arguments are worth serious attention. (shrink)
This is a review of Peter Anstey's John Locke and Natural Philosophy, which is a masterful and well-argued study of Locke's philosophy of science that shall become both the standard and starting place, for scholars and students alike, for decades to come. Anstey's meticulous and thorough research, combined with his comprehensive knowledge of the history of natural philosophy, make this work a must-read for all who are interested in Locke, early modern philosophy, the history of the philosophy of science, (...) or early modern philosophy of science. His characteristically rigorous analysis and argumentation coupled with his easy and clear prose make this a highly readable and accessible work of scholarship. (shrink)
Newly re-printed, Sydney Hook’s classic (1939) work on Dewey appears with an Introduction by Richard Rorty. Hook may help us see how Dewey fit into his own time. That story is important. The new printing may also help us see how Dewey fits into our time. Rorty lauds more recent treatments of Dewey’s work, especially Robert Westbrook’s intellectual biography John Dewey and American Democracy (1991), and Steven Rockefeller’s John Dewey: Religious Faith and Democratic Humanism (1991) gets honorable mention. (...) Specific comments focus on Alan Ryan’s John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism (1995). “It may be that Dewey and Hook witnessed, as Alan Ryan suggests, ... ‘the high tide of American liberalism,’ but if this is so, then America has lost its soul.”1 Even future-focused pragmatists need to look back to Dewey and Hook. They were “Americans” who, in the final words of the Hook volume, “still had hope for what America may yet be.”. (shrink)
"When John Dewey died in 1952, he was memorialized as America's most famous philosopher, revered by liberal educators and deplored by conservatives, but universally acknowledged as his country's intellectual voice. Many things conspired to give Dewey an extraordinary intellectual eminence: He was immensely long-lived and immensely prolific; he died in his ninety-third year, and his intellectual productivity hardly slackened until his eighties." "Professor Alan Ryan offers new insights into Dewey's many achievements, his character, and the era in which his (...) scholarship had a remarkable impact. He investigates the question of what an American audience wanted from a public philosopher - from an intellectual figure whose credentials came from his academic standing as a philosopher, but whose audience was much wider than an academic one." "Ryan argues that Dewey's "religious" outlook illuminates his politics much more vividly than it does the politics of religion as ordinarily conceived. He examines how Dewey fit into the American radical tradition, how he was and was not like his transatlantic contemporaries, why he could for so long practice a form of philosophical inquiry that became unfashionable in England after 1914 at the latest."--BOOK JACKET. (shrink)
The political and philosophical problems John Rawls set out to solve arise out of the identity and conflicts of interests between citizens. There is identity of interests because social cooperation makes possible for everyone a life that is much better than one outside of society. There is a conflict of interests because people all prefer a larger to a smaller share of the benefits of social cooperation, and people have ideological differences. The problem a theory of justice has to (...) solve is how, in the face of these conflicts, effective social cooperation can come about on terms that are justifiable to all. (shrink)
The project method became a famous teaching method when William Heard Kilpatrick published his article ‘Project Method’ in 1918. The key idea in Kilpatrick's project method is to try to explain how pupils learn things when they work in projects toward different common objects. The same idea of pupils learning by work or action in an environment with objects also belongs to John Dewey's problem-solving method. Are Kilpatrick's project method and Dewey's problem-solving method the same thing? The aim of (...) this article is to analyze and prove that Kilpatrick's project method differs radically from Dewey's problem-solving method. (shrink)
John R. Searle is one of the world's leading philosophers. During his long and outstanding career, he has made groundbreaking and lasting contributions to the philosophy of language, to the philosophy of mind, as well as to the nature, structure, and functioning of social reality. This volume documents the 13th Münster Lectures on Philosophy with John R. Searle. It includes not only 11 critical papers on Searle's philosophy and Searle's replies to the papers, but also an original article (...) by John R. Searle on his overall philosophical enterprise entitled "The Basic Reality and the Human Reality". -/- "I think Münster is probably unique among contemporary universities in its ability to produce such a high level of philosophical production from their philosophy students." - John R. Searle. (shrink)