This interdisciplinary work is a collection of major essays on reasoning: deductive, inductive, abductive, belief revision, defeasible (non-monotonic), cross cultural, conversational, and argumentative. They are each oriented toward contemporary empirical studies. The book focuses on foundational issues, including paradoxes, fallacies, and debates about the nature of rationality, the traditional modes of reasoning, as well as counterfactual and causal reasoning. It also includes chapters on the interface between reasoning and other forms of thought. In general, this last set of essays represents (...) growth points in reasoning research, drawing connections to pragmatics, cross-cultural studies, emotion and evolution. (shrink)
Cost-benefit analysis is a widely used governmental evaluation tool, though academics remain skeptical. This volume gathers prominent contributors from law, economics, and philosophy for discussion of cost-benefit analysis, specifically its moral foundations, applications and limitations. This new scholarly debate includes not only economists, but also contributors from philosophy, cognitive psychology, legal studies, and public policy who can further illuminate the justification and moral implications of this method and specify alternative measures. These articles originally appeared in the Journal of Legal Studies. (...) Contributors: - Matthew D. Adler - Gary S. Becker - John Broome - Robert H. Frank - Robert W. Hahn - Lewis A. Kornhauser - Martha C. Nussbaum - Eric A. Posner - Richard A. Posner - Henry S. Richardson - Amartya Sen - Cass R. Sunstein - W. Kip Viscusi. (shrink)
Davidson's account of weakness of will depends upon a parallel that he draws between practical and theoretical reasoning. I argue that the parallel generates a misleading picture of theoretical reasoning. Once the misleading picture is corrected, I conclude that the attempt to model akratic belief on Davidson's account of akratic action cannot work. The arguments that deny the possibility of akratic belief also undermine, more generally, various attempts to assimilate theoretical to practical reasoning.
Fair lotteries offer familiar ways to pose a number of epistemological problems, prominently those of closure and of scepticism. Although these problems apply to many epistemological positions, in this paper I develop a variant of a lottery case to raise a difficulty with the reliabilist's fundamental claim that justification or knowledge is to be analyzed as a high truth-ratio (of the relevant belief-forming processes). In developing the difficulty broader issues are joined including fallibility and the relation of reliability to understanding.
Why is there so much misrepresentation of arguments in public forums? Standard explanations, such as self-interested biases, are insufficient. An additional part of the explanation is our commitment to, or belief in, norms that disallow responses that amount to no firm judgment, as contrasted with definite agreement or disagreement. In disallowing no-firm-judgment responses, these norms deny not only degrees of support or dissent and a variety of ways of suspending judgment, but also indifference. Since these norms leave us with only (...) constricted options that are very intellectually demanding, in accepting these norms we impose on ourselves a pressure to justify our judgment that lends itself to relief through misrepresentation or distortion. (shrink)
Reliabilism holds that knowledge is true belief reliably caused. Reliabilists should say something about individuating processes; critics deny that the right degree of generality can be specified without arbitrariness. It is argued that this criticism applies as well to processes mentioned in scientific explanations. The gratuitous puzzles created thereby show that the "generality problem" is illusory.
Three fallacies in the rationality debate obscure the possibility for reconciling the opposed camps. I focus on how these fallacies arise in the view that subjects interpret their task differently from the experimenters (owing to the influence of conversational expectations). The themes are: first, critical assessment must start from subjects' understanding; second, a modal fallacy; and third, fallacies of distribution.
Evidentialism implies that, for epistemic purposes, belief should be responsive only to evidence. Focusing on our reactive attitude such as resentment or indignation, I construct an argument that the beliefs or judgments accompanying those attitudes are constrained in advance by circumstances to be full, rather than being open to the whole range of partial beliefs. These judgments or beliefs imply strong claims to justification. But the circumstances in which those attitudes are formed allow only very limited evidence. Nevertheless, we cannot (...) opt out regularly since the formation of such attitudes is so central a feature of a minimally content human social life. (shrink)
In many base rate studies, a judgment is required for which the base rates are relevant, and subjects do not use them. It is inferred that the base rates are ignored; I question this inference. Second, I argue that the base rate fallacy is not less significant for what it reveals about human reasoning, if it occurs less frequently than has been alleged.
Conductive Arguments are held to be defeasible, non-conclusive, and neither inductive nor deductive (Blair and Johnson in Conductive argument: An overlooked type of defeasible reasoning. College, London, 2011 ). Of the different kinds of Conductive Arguments, I am concerned only with those for which it is claimed that countervailing considerations detract from the support for the conclusion, complimentary to the positive reasons increasing that support. Here’s an example from Wellman (Challenge and response: justification in ethics. Southern Illinois University Press, Chicago, (...) 1971 ): Although your lawn needs cutting, you ought to take your son to the movies because the picture is ideal for children and will be gone by tomorrow. (1971: 57) I argue that Conductive Arguments are not possible—the “ought” conclusion only holds if countervailing considerations are nullified. (shrink)
The present argument assumes that teaching through modeling attempts to teach the intellectual virtues not primarily as an independent goal of education as, for example, a way to build good character, but for its value to inquiry. I argue that intellectual vices (such as being gullible, dogmatic, pigheaded, or prejudiced)—while harmful to inquiry in certain ways—are essential to its well functioning. Furthermore, to the extent that teaching models critical inquiry, there are educational lessons for which some students ought to take (...) a dogmatic or narrow minded commitment to certain hypotheses or positions; and then, insofar as this modeling works, it will promote these intellectual vices. In Part I of what follows, I develop my argument; in Part II, I respond to the objection that diversity of ideas and attitudes need not—and ought not—call upon the promotion of intellectual vices. (shrink)
This paper explores the implications of the epistemic distinction between the grounds that are relevant for justification in normal knowledge-claim contexts ('local') and those that are relevant in philosophical knowledge-claim contexts ('global') for inductive logics.
A teoria das virtudes epistêmicas (VE) sustenta que as virtudes dos agentes, tais como a imparcialidade ou a permeabilidade intelectual, ao invés de crenças específicas, devem estar no centro da avaliação epistêmica, e que os indivíduos que possuem essas virtudes estão mais bem-posicionados epistemicamente do que se não as tivessem, ou, pior ainda, do que se tivessem os vícios correspondentes: o preconceito, o dogmatismo, ou a impermeabilidade intelectual. Eu argumento que a teoria VE padece de um grave defeito, porque fracassa (...) ao se ajustar à natureza social dos questionamentos (epistêmicos) típicos. Esse e outros defeitos relacionados a esse infectam o paralelo que os teóricos VE traçam entre virtudes epistêmicas e morais. Ao prometer o incremento na proporção de crenças verdadeiras sobre crenças falsas, ou ignorância, as virtudes epistêmicas não podem desempenhar um papel paralelo àquele que Aristóteles reserva às virtudes morais ao prometer o incremento em nossa felicidade e no bem-estar da comunidade. A minha rota para essas críticas é feita das razões sobre por que os agentes (sociais) devem buscar a obtenção de seus objetivos morais e epistêmicos diferentemente nos papéis que atribuem às virtudes. PALAVRAS-CHAVES – Virtude epistêmica. Divisão de trabalho epistêmico. Diversidade. Conhecimento. Falibilidade. Virtude moral. ABSTRACT Epistemic Virtue (EV) theory holds that virtues of agents, like impartiality or openmindedness, rather than specific beliefs, should be at the center of epistemological evaluation, and that individuals with those virtues are better positioned epistemically than if they lacked them or, worse, if they instead had the corresponding vices: prejudice, dogmatism, or close-mindedness. I argue that EV theory suffers from a serious flaw because it fails to accommodate to the social nature of typical (epistemic) inquiries. This and related flaws infect the parallel that EV theorists allege between epistemic and moral virtues. In promising to improve our ratio of true beliefs to either false beliefs or ignorance, the epistemic virtues cannot play a roll parallel to that which Aristotle claims for the moral virtues in promising to increase our happiness and the well-being of the community. The path to these criticisms I introduce by offering reasons for why (social) agents should seek to realize their epistemic and moral goals very differently in the respective roles they accord to the virtues. KEY WORDS – Epistemic virtue. Division of epistemic labor. Diversity. Knowledge. Fallibility. Moral virtue. (shrink)
In Emanuel Adler's distinctive constructivist approach to international relations theory, international practices evolve in tandem with collective knowledge of the material and social worlds. This book - comprising a selection of his journal publications, a new introduction and three previously unpublished articles - points IR constructivism in a novel direction, characterized as 'communitarian'. Adler's synthesis does not herald the end of the nation-state; nor does it suggest that agency is unimportant in international life. Rather, it argues that what (...) mediates between individual and state agency and social structures are communities of practice, which are the wellspring and repositories of collective meanings and social practices. The concept of communities of practice casts new light on epistemic communities and security communities, helping to explain why certain ideas congeal into human practices and others do not, and which social mechanisms can facilitate the emergence of normatively better communities. (shrink)
Defence of conditions to withdraw an assertion that require evidence or epistemic reasons that the assertion is not true or warranted. (Adler, J. 2006. Withdrawal and contextualism. Analysis 66: 280–85) The defence replies to the claim that better methods justify withdrawal without meeting that requirement and without pragmatic encroachment.
In this classic work, Adler explores how man differs from all other things in the universe, bringing to bear both philosophical insight and informed scientific hypotheses concerning the biological and behavioral characteristics of mainkind. Rapid advances in science and technology and the abstract concepts of that influence on man and human value systems are lucidly outlined by Adler, as he touches on the effect of industrialization, and the clash of cultures and value systems brought about by increased communication (...) between previously isolated groups of people. Among the other problems this study addresses are the scientific achievements in biology and physics which have raised fundamental questions about humanity's essential nature, especially the discoveries in the bilogical relatedness of all living things. Thrown into high relief is humanity's struggle to determine its unique status in the natual world and its value in the world it has created. Ultimately, Adler's work develops an approach to the separation between scientific and philosophical questions which stands as a model of thought on philosophical considerations of new scientific discoveries and its consequences for the human person. (shrink)
Is it a good time to be alive? Is ours a good society to be alive in? Is it possible to have a good life in our time? And finally, does a good life consist of having a good time? Are happiness and “a good life” interchangeable? These are the questions that Mortimer Adler addresses himself to. The heart of the book lies in its conception of the good life for man, which provides the standard for measuring a century, (...) a society, or a culture: for upon that turns the meaning of each man’s primary moral right – his right to the pursuit of happiness. The moral philosophy that Dr. Adler expounds in terms of this conception he calls “the ethics of common sense,” because it is as a defense and development of the common-sense answer to the question “can I really make a good life for myself?”. (shrink)
In this paper, I take a critical look at Adler's conceptual argument against doxastic voluntarism in his book, Belief's Own Ethics. In making his case, Adler defends evidentialism as the true version of how beliefs are acquired. That is, the will has no direct influence on belief. After a careful exposition of the argument itself, focus is placed on Adler's response to a particularly troubling objection to the form of evidentialism that results: Can evidentialism allow that doubt (...) may be simultaneous with belief? It is in Adler's response that I find concessions that cripple his argument and offer new life to future defenses of doxastic voluntarism. In particular, his belief/confidence and weight of evidence/force of evidence distinctions result in inconsistency. If that inconsistency can be successfully demonstrated, the distinctions and the argument fall. (shrink)
Presents an analysis of Jonathan Edwards' theological position. This book includes a study of his life and the intellectual issues in the America of his time, and examines the problem of free will in connection with Leibniz, Locke, and Hume.
Prepared by editors of the distinguished series The Works of Jonathan Edwards, this authoritative anthology includes selected treatises, sermons, and autobiographical material by early America’s greatest theologian and philosopher.
Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian. His work as a whole is an expression of two themes — the absolute sovereignty of God and the beauty of God's holiness. The first is articulated in Edwards' defense of theological determinism, in a doctrine of occasionalism, and in his insistence that physical objects are only collections of sensible “ideas” while finite minds are mere assemblages of “thoughts” or “perceptions.” As the only real (...) cause or substance underlying physical and mental phenomena, God is “being in general,” the “sum of all being.” -/- Edwards' second theme is articulated in accounts of God's end in creation, and of the nature of true virtue and true beauty. God creates in order to manifest a holiness which consists in a benevolence which alone is truly beautiful. Genuine human virtue is an imitation of divine benevolence and all finite beauty is an image of divine loveliness. True virtue is needed to discern this beauty, however, and to reason rightly about “divine things.”. (shrink)
This is my review of Howard B. Radest's book on Felix Adler and Ethical Culture. The book involves interesting comparisons of Adler to Emerson and to the pragmatists, and Radest is well qualified to tell the history of Adler's work and its influence.
We wish to defend Jonathan Westphal's view that colour is complex against a recent ‘phenomenological’ criticism of Eric Rubenstein. There is often thought to be a conflict between two kinds of determinants of colour, physical and phenomenal. On the one hand there are the complex physical facts about colour, such as the determination of a surface colour by an absorption spectrum. There is also, however, the fact that the apparently simple phenomenological quality of what is seen is a (...) function of the physiological and psychological state of the viewing subject. Should the physical trump the phenomenal, or is it the other way round? Much of the phenomenal variation of colour, however, is explained by physical facts. There is a physics and a psychophysics of colour. Colours appear, to the colour scientists at least, to be in some sense objective, a sense not explained by the view that they are purely phenomenal. Taking physics and psychophysics into account will mean rejecting the claim that the content of what our concepts of colours are concepts of is exhausted by the purely phenomenal, or that we can determine these concepts simply by gazing at a colour. Taking account of physics will lead, as Westphal argued, instead to a view about white and the other colour terms like Putnam's account of gold. Necessary truths about colours cannot be explained without reference to the logic of the compossibility of what is given in reflection and absorption spectra, the analogue of H2O. (shrink)
Metaphysics: 5 Questions is a collection of short interviews based on 5 questions presented to some of the most influential and prominent philosophers in the field. We hear their views on metaphysics, the aim, the scope, the future direction of research and how their work fits in these respects. Interviews with Lynne Rudder Baker, Helen Beebee, Thomas Hofweber, Hugh Mellor, Peter Menzies, Stephen Mumford, Daniel Nolan, Eric T.Olson, L. A. Paul, Lorenz B. Puntel, Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra, Gideon Rosen, Jonathan (...) Schaffer, Peter Simons, Barry Smith, Michael Tooley, Peter van Inwagen, Dean Zimmerman. (shrink)