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)
This volume is a collective exploration of major themes in the work of Crispin Wright, one of today's leading philosophers. These newly commissioned papers are divided into four sections, preceded by a substantial Introduction, which places them in the context of the development of Wright's ideas. The distinguished contributors address issues such as the rule-following problem, knowledge of our meanings and minds, truth, realism, anti-realism and relativism, as well as the nature of perceptual justification, the cogency of arguments such as (...) G. E. Moore's celebrated proof of an external world, and skepticism about the material world. Some papers explore the relationship of Wright's ideas with those of Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose influence has always been a prominent aspect of Wright's philosophy. The essays collectively testify to the enormous interest and relevance of Wright's seminal contributions for present-day debates in areas as diverse as the philosophy of language and mind, metaphysics, and epistemology, and significantly advance research in these areas. The volume also contains Wright's substantial responses to his critics, which offer the most up-to-date versions of his ideas and a vigorous defense of his philosophy. (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)
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.
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 ...