Recently, James Smith and Merold Westphal have sought to reconcile Christianity with Lyotard’s definition of the postmodern – “incredulitytowards metanarratives” – by claiming that Christianity is not a metanarrative in Lyotard’s sense. This paper argues that their understanding of theLyotardian metanarrative is too restrictive, and that the term specifically includes Christianity within its scope. Despite this, though, there is a meansby which Christianity and Lyotard can be brought closer together. That method is to understand Lyotard’s refusal of metanarratives as being (...) tosome extent provisional. Combining this idea with Lyotard’s notion of the differend allows Christianity and Lyotardian postmodernism to be found, ifnot in agreement, at least to coexist. (shrink)
Life and the living (on Aristotelian biohorror) -- Supernatural horror as the paradigm for life -- Aristotle's De anima and the problem of life -- The ontology of life -- The entelechy of the weird -- Superlative life -- Life with or without limits -- Life as time in Plotinus -- On the superlative -- Superlative life I: Pseudo-Dionysius -- Negative vs. affirmative theology -- Superlative negation -- Negation and preexistent life -- Excess, evil, and non-being -- Superlative life II: (...) Eriugena -- Negation in the periphyseon -- The quaestio de nihilo: on nothing -- The quaestio de nihilo: superlative nothing -- Dark intelligible abyss -- Apophasis -- The apophatic logic -- Negation in Frege and Ayer -- Negation vs. subtraction in Badiou -- Negation and contradiction in Priest -- The dialetheic vitalism of negative theology -- Ellipses: Suhraward and the luminous void -- Univocal creatures -- On spiritual creatures -- Life as form in Aristotle -- The concept of the creature -- Univocity I: Duns Scotus vs. Aquinas -- Univocity in Aquinas' Summa theologica -- Univocity in Duns Scotus' Opus oxoniense -- The common nature of the creature -- Univocity II: Duns Scotus vs. Henry of Ghent -- Univocity in Henry of Ghent -- Negative vs. privative indetermination -- Absolute indetermination -- Univocity III: Deleuze's scholasticism three variations -- Spinoza et le problème de l'expression -- Différence et répétition -- Cours de Vincennes -- Univocal creatures -- Ellipses: Dgen and uncreated univocity -- Dark pantheism -- Everything and nothing -- Life as spirit in Aquinas -- The concept of the divine nature -- Immanence I: Eriugena's periphyseon -- Natura and the unthought -- Universal life -- Four statements on pantheism -- Immanence II: Duns Scotus' reportatio Ia -- Univocal immanence -- Actual infinity -- The pathology of the triple primacy -- Immanence III: Nicholas of Cusa's De docta ignorantia -- The coincidence of opposites -- The folds of life -- Absolute vs. contracted pantheism -- Speculative pantheism (Deleuze's interlocutors) -- Pantheism and pure immanence -- The insubordination of immanence in Deleuze -- Scholia I: the isomorphism of univocity and immanence -- Scholia II: the vitalist logic of common notions -- Scholia III: the life of substance -- Dark pantheism -- Ellipses: Wang Yangming and idealist naturalism -- Logic and life (on Kantian teratology) -- The wandering line from Aristotle to Kant -- Critique of life -- Spectral life and speculative realism -- Ontotheology in Kant, atheology in Bataille -- The night land. (shrink)
In this paper, I make a case for interpreting the Lysis as a dialogue of definition, designed to answer the question of “What is a friend?” The main innovation of my interpretation is the contention – and this is argued for in the paper – that Socrates hints towards a definition of being a friend that applies equally to mutual friendship and one-way attraction – the two kinds of friend relation very clearly identified by Socrates in the dialogue. The key (...) to understanding how the two different kinds of friendship can have a common definition is to appreciate that the property of being a friend has a relational character. (shrink)
This paper addresses the social, cultural, and ethical dynamics of research in regenerative medicine. The author turns to both science fiction and recent developments in regenerative medicine for clues about the future of the body and medical practice, suggesting that regenerative medicine uses the body as its own resource for the purposes of preserving life, and that by attempting to remove the body from the limitations of both mortality and contingency, regenerative medicine fundamentally alters the meaning of human.
Patients' wishes regarding health care and dying must be taken into consideration by their physicians. Competent patients need to record directives about their care in advance of a crisis situation. The primary care physician, seeing the patient at the time of a routine office visit, is in a favorable position to explore and record attitudes. A patient's value system should be part of a medical history before hospital admission. Details in a Value History Questionnaire facilitate guiding an incompetent patient through (...) a terminal illness in accordance with wishes previously expressed.An instrument in the form of a questionnaire was designed to record the attitudes of 200 patients regarding health care and dying. Respondents ranged in age from 17 to 84 years, and all were members of one family practice. They reacted positively to the opportunity to record their values, opinions, and wishes about their health care and process of dying. They clearly indicated that, in the absence of prior directives, they would want their families consulted about crucial decisions. (shrink)
Contemporary cost containment measures ignore patients' need for privacy, destroy long-term doctor-patient relationships, and demand ethical and standard of care compromises.Economic considerations have distracted the physician and he/she no longer focuses primarily on the patient's welfare. The superficiality of the doctor-patient relationship and the cost-cutting efforts have jointly contributed to the deterioration of the quality of medical care.
Justin makes a novel case, based on reflection on the “telos” of color vision, for a dispositional theory of colors. Justin’s case is highly suggestive, and comes tantalizingly close to resolving the debate in the metaphysics of color. But I have a few questions which I would like to see answered before I am converted.
Justin D'Arms says that moral disapproval is more closely tied to anger than to the “empathic chill” effect I emphasized in Moral Sentimentalism, but I argue that anger is in several ways inappropriate or unsatisfactory as a basis for understanding disapproval. I go on to explain briefly why I think we need not share D'Arms's worries about the possibility of nonveridical empathy but then focus on what he says about the reference-fixing theory of moral terminology defended in Moral Sentimentalism. (...) I explain why I think his interpretations of my view—both at the Spindel Conference and subsequently—misunderstand the (Kripkean) character of that view. My reply to Lori Watson questions whether her criticisms of Moral Sentimentalism's account of morality are sufficiently sensitive to the self−other asymmetry that typifies so much of ordinary moral thinking. (shrink)
D. Christopher Ralston; Justin Ho (Eds.): Philosophical Reflections on Disability Content Type Journal Article Pages 247-249 DOI 10.1007/s10677-010-9237-8 Authors Franziska Felder, Ethikzentrum der Universität Zürich, Graduiertenprogramm für Interdisziplinäre Ethikforschung, Zollikerstrasse 115, 8008 Zürich, Switzerland Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820 Journal Volume Volume 14 Journal Issue Volume 14, Number 2.
Abstract This review discussion outlines Justin Barrett’s Preparedness Model. This evolutionary model for belief in God is shown to posit a maladaptive mind for infants. Questions about its implications and the supporting data are considered. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-3 DOI 10.1007/s11841-012-0300-x Authors Dwayne Raymond, Department of Philosophy, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA Journal Sophia Online ISSN 1873-930X Print ISSN 0038-1527.
Professionals, it is said, have no use for simple lists of virtues and vices. The complexities and constraints of professional roles create peculiar moral demands on the people who occupy them, and traits that are vices in ordinary life are praised as virtues in the context of professional roles. Should this disturb us, or is it naive to presume that things should be otherwise? Taking medical and legal practice as key examples, Justin Oakley and Dean Cocking develop a rigorous (...) articulation and defence of virtue ethics, contrasting it with other types of character-based ethical theories and showing that it offers a promising new approach to the ethics of professional roles. They provide insights into the central notions of professional detachment, professional integrity, and moral character in professional life, and demonstrate how a virtue-based approach can help us better understand what ethical professional-client relationships would be like. (shrink)
It is commonly suggested that evolutionary considerations generate an epistemological challenge for moral realism. At first approximation, the challenge for the moral realist is to explain our having many true moral beliefs, given that those beliefs are the products of evolutionary forces that would be indifferent to the moral truth. An important question surrounding this challenge is the extent to which it generalizes. In particular, it is of interest whether the Evolutionary Challenge for moral realism is equally a challenge for (...) mathematical realism. It is widely thought not to be. In this paper, I argue that the Evolutionary Challenge for moral realism is equally a challenge for mathematical realism. Along the way, I substantially clarify the Evolutionary Challenge, discuss its relation to more familiar epistemological challenges, and broach a number of foundational issues in metaphysics. The paper should be of interest to ethicists because it places pressure on anyone who rejects moral realism on the basis of the Evolutionary Challenge to reject mathematical realism as well. And the paper should be of interest to philosophers of mathematics because it presents a new epistemological challenge for mathematical realism that bears, I argue, no simple relation to Paul Benacerraf's familiar challenge. (shrink)
Philosophers often call emotions appropriate or inappropriate. What is meant by such talk? In one sense, explicated in this paper, to call an emotion appropriate is to say that the emotion is fitting: it accurately presents its object as having certain evaluative features. For instance, envy might be thought appropriate when one's rival has something good which one lacks. But someone might grant that a circumstance has these features, yet deny that envy is appropriate, on the grounds that it is (...) wrong to be envious. These two senses of `appropriate' have much less in common than philosophers have supposed. Indeed, the distinction between propriety and correctness is crucial to understanding the distinctive role of the emotions in ethics. We argue here that an emotion can be fitting despite being wrong to feel, and that various philosophical arguments are guilty of a systematic error which we term the moralistic fallacy. (shrink)
The practice of conceptual analysis has undergone a revival in recent years. Although the extent of its role in philosophy is controversial, many now accept that conceptual analysis has at least some role to play. Granting this, I consider the relevance of empirical investigation to conceptual analysis. I do so by contrasting an extreme position (anti-empirical conceptual analysis) with a more moderate position (non-empirical conceptual analysis). I argue that anti-empirical conceptual analysis is not a viable position because it has no (...) means for resolving conceptual disputes that arise between seemingly competent speakers of the language. This is illustrated by considering one such dispute that has been pressed by a prominent advocate of anti-empirical conceptual analysis: Bennett and Hacker ( 2003 ) assert that psychological predicates only logically apply to whole living animals, but many scientists and philosophers use the terms more broadly. I argue that to resolve such disputes we need to empirically investigate the common understanding of the terms at issue. I then show how this can be done by presenting the results of three studies concerning the application of “calculates” to computers. (shrink)
Recently, Trenton Merricks has defended a libertarian view of human freedom. He claims that human persons have downward causal control of their constituent parts, and that downward causal control of this sort is sufficient for free will. In this paper I examine Merricks’s defense of free will, and argue that it is unsuccessful. I show that having downward causal control is not sufficient for for free will. In an Appendix I also argue that Merricks’s defense of free will, together with (...) assumptions implicit in his broader ontology, commit him to the implausible conclusion that determinism is incompatible with the existence of human persons. (shrink)
One popular reason for rejecting moral realism is the lack of a plausible epistemology that explains how we come to know moral facts. Recently, a number of philosophers have insisted that it is possible to have moral knowledge in a very straightforward way—by perception. However, there is a significant objection to the possibility of moral perception: it does not seem that we could have a perceptual experience that represents a moral property, but a necessary condition for coming to know that (...) X is F by perception is the ability to have a perceptual experience that represents something as being F . Call this the ‘Representation Objection’ to moral perception. In this paper I argue that the Representation Objection to moral perception fails. Thus I offer a limited defense of moral perception. (shrink)
Mental internalists hold that an individuals mental features at a given time supervene upon what is in that individuals head at that time. While many people reject mental internalism about content and justification, mental internalism is commonly accepted regarding such other mental features as rationality, emotion-types, propositional-attitude-types, moral character, and phenomenology. I construct a counter-example to mental internalism regarding all these features. My counter-example involves two creatures: a human and an alien from Pulse World. These creatures environments, behavioral dispositions and (...) histories are such that it is intuitively clear that they are mentally quite different, even while they are, for a moment, exactly alike with respect to whats in their heads. I offer positive reasons for thinking that the case I describe is indeed possible. I then consider ways in which mental internalists might attempt to account for this case, but conclude that the only plausible option is to reject mental internalism and to adopt a particular externalist alternative a history-oriented version of teleo-functionalism. (shrink)
In this paper we discuss studies that show that most people do not find determinism to be incompatible with free will and moral responsibility if determinism is described in a way that does not suggest mechanistic reductionism. However, if determinism is described in a way that suggests reductionism, that leads people to interpret it as threatening to free will and responsibility. We discuss the implications of these results for the philosophical debates about free will, moral responsibility, and determinism.
Paul Benacerraf's argument from multiple reductions consists of a general argument against realism about the natural numbers (the view that numbers are objects), and a limited argument against reductionism about them (the view that numbers are identical with prima facie distinct entities). There is a widely recognized and severe difficulty with the former argument, but no comparably recognized such difficulty with the latter. Even so, reductionism in mathematics continues to thrive. In this paper I develop a difficulty for Benacerraf's argument (...) against reductionism that is of comparable severity to the now widely recognized difficulty with his general argument against realism. Thanks to Kit Fine, Hartry Field, Jeff Sebo, Ted Sider, Stephen Schiffer, and anonymous referees at Philosophia Mathematica for helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. Thanks to Aron Edidin for many helpful discussions of the problems that inspired it. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
In The Secret Connexion1 Galen Strawson argues against the traditional interpretation of Hume, according to which Hume’s theory of meaning leads him to a regularity theory of causation. In actual fact, says Strawson, ‘Hume believes firmly in some sort of natural necessity’ (p. 277). What Hume denied was that we are aware of causal connections outrunning regular succession, and that we have a ‘positively or descriptively contentful conception’ of such powers (p. 283); he did not deny that there are such (...) powers, or that they are what we are talking about when we talk about causation. Strawson has four central lines of argument. His ‘most direct evidence’ (p. 2) against a regularity interpretation consists of (1) passages where Hume refers to hidden powers underlying the regularities of which we are aware. Strawson’s broader motivations for rejecting the traditional interpretation are (2) that the regularity theory is in itself quite absurd, and (3) that it is incompatible with Hume’s ‘non-committal scepticism’. And the method which he uses to defend his interpretation against pressure from the theory of ideas is (4) to develop some comments of Hume’s on ‘relative’ ideas into something like a further theory of content to supplement the theory of ideas. Strawson develops almost the strongest case I can imagine for his claims. I shall try to explain why he leaves me unconvinced. (shrink)
To the familiar idea of an undetectable spectrum inversion some have added the idea of inverted earth. This new combination of ideas is even harder to make coherent, particularly as it applies to a supposed inversion of black and white counteracted by an environmental switch of these. Black and white exhibit asymmetries in their connections with illumination, shadow and visibility, which rule out their being reversed. And since the most saturated yellow is light and the most saturated blue dark, yellow (...) and blue could not be reversed unless light and dark could be. The difficulties suggest some more general morals for how to think of the role of 'qualia' in colour perception. (shrink)
Most a posteriori arguments against the existence of God take the following form: (1) If God exists, the world would not be like this (where 'this' picks out some feature of the world like the existence of evil, etc.) (2) But the world is like this . (3) Therefore, God does not exist. Skeptical theists are theists who are skeptical of our ability to make judgments of the sort expressed by premise (1). According to skeptical theism, if there were a (...) God, it is likely that he would have reasons for acting that are beyond our ken, and thus we are not justified in making all-things-considered judgments about what the world would be like if there were a God. In particular, the fact that we don't see a good reason for X does not justify the conclusion that there is no good reason for X. 1 Thus, skeptical theism purports to undercut most a posteriori arguments against the existence of God. What follows is an account of the nature of skeptical theism, an application of skeptical theism to both the argument from evil and the argument from divine hiddenness, and a review of the cases for and against skeptical theism. (shrink)
Here it is argued that in order for something someone “does” to count as a genuine action, the person needn’t have been able to refrain from doing it. If this is right, then two recent defenses of the principle of alternative possibilities, a version of which says that a person is morally responsible for what he has done only if he could have refrained from doing it, are unsuccessful.
One of the primary motivations behind moral anti-realism is a deep-rooted scepticism about moral knowledge. Moral realists attempt counter this worry by sketching a plausible moral epistemology. One of the most radical proposals in the recent literature is that we know moral facts by perception – we can literally see that an action is wrong, etc. A serious objection to moral perception is the causal objection. It is widely conceded that perception requires a causal connection between the perceived and the (...) perceiver. But, the objection continues, we are not in appropriate causal contact with moral properties. Therefore, we cannot perceive moral properties. This papers demonstrates that the causal objection is unsound whether moral properties turn out to be secondary, natural properties; non-secondary, natural properties; or non-natural properties. 1. (shrink)
If anything is taken for granted in contemporary metaphysics, it is that platonism with respect to a discourse of metaphysical interest, such as fictional or mathematical discourse, affords a better account of the semantic appearances than nominalism, other things being equal. This belief is often motivated by the intuitively stronger one that the platonist can take the semantic appearances “at face-value” while the nominalist must resort to apparently ad hoc and technically problematic machinery in order to explain those appearances away. (...) -/- In this paper, I argue that, on any natural construal of “face-value”, the platonist, like the nominalist, does not in general seem to be able to take the semantic appearances at face-value. And insofar as the nominalist is forced to adopt apparently ad hoc and technically problematic machinery in order to explain those appearances away, the platonist is generally forced to adopt machinery which is at least prima facie ad hoc and technically problematic as well. One moral of the story is that the thesis that platonism affords a better account of the semantic appearances than nominalism, other things being equal, is not trivial. Another is that we should rethink our methodology in metaphysics. (shrink)
It is often alleged that, unlike typical axioms of mathematics, the Continuum Hypothesis (CH) is indeterminate. This position is normally defended on the ground that the CH is undecidable in a way that typical axioms are not. Call this kind of undecidability “absolute undecidability”. In this paper, I seek to understand what absolute undecidability could be such that one might hope to establish that (a) CH is absolutely undecidable, (b) typical axioms are not absolutely undecidable, and (c) if a mathematical (...) hypothesis is absolutely undecidable, then it is indeterminate. I shall argue that on no understanding of absolute undecidability could one hope to establish all of (a)–(c). However, I will identify one understanding of absolute undecidability on which one might hope to establish both (a) and (c) to the exclusion of (b). This suggests that a new style of mathematical antirealism deserves attention—one that does not depend on familiar epistemological or ontological concerns. The key idea behind this view is that typical mathematical hypotheses are indeterminate because they are relevantly similar to CH. (shrink)
Machery, Mallon, Nichols, and Stich [2004; forthcoming] use experimental methods to raise a spectre of doubt about reliance on intuitions in developing theories of reference which are then deployed in philosophical arguments outside the philosophy of language. Machery et al. ran a cross-cultural survey asking Western and East Asian participants about a famous case from the philosophical literature on reference (Kripke's G del example). They interpret their results as indicating that there is significant variation in participants' intuitions about semantic reference (...) for that case. We argue that this interpretation is mistaken. We detail a type of ambiguity found in Machery et al.'s probe but not yet noted in the response literature. We argue that this epistemic ambiguity could have affected their results. We do not stop there, however: Rather than rest content with a possibility claim, we ran four studies to test the impact of this ambiguity on participants' responses. We found that this accounts for much of the variation in Machery et al.'s original experiment. We conclude that in the light of our new data, their argument is no longer convincing. (shrink)
There has been a great deal of critical discussion of Harry Frankfurt’s argument against the Principle of Alternative Possibilities (PAP), almost all of which has focused on whether the Frankfurt-style examples, which are designed to be counterexamples to PAP, can be given a coherent formulation. Recently, however, David Widerker has argued that even if Frankfurt-style examples can be given a coherent formulation, there is reason to believe that an agent in those examples could never be morally blameworthy for what she (...) has done. Therefore, such examples do not undermine a version of PAP restricted to blameworthiness. Widerker refers to his argument for this claim as the W-defense. I examine the W-defense in some detail, along with three recent replies to it by defenders of Frankfurt’s argument. I contend that each of these replies is problematic and, indeed, that two of them play directly into the hands of those seeking to defend PAP. I then develop my own reply to the W-defense by calling into question an assumption which is at the heart of that argument regarding the nature of moral blame. (shrink)
Chandra Sripada's (2010) Deep Self Concordance Account aims to explain various asymmetries in people's judgments of intentional action. On this account, people distinguish between an agent's active and deep self; attitude attributions to the agent's deep self are then presumed to play a causal role in people's intentionality ascriptions. Two judgments are supposed to play a role in these attributions?a judgment that specifies the attitude at issue and one that indicates that the attitude is robust (Sripada & Konrath, 2011). In (...) this article, we show that the Deep Self Concordance Account, as it is currently articulated, is unacceptable. (shrink)
In this article we argue that the worries about whether a consequentialist agent will be alienated from those who are special to her go deeper than has so far been appreciated. Rather than pointing to a problem with the consequentialist agent's motives or purposes, we argue that the problem facing a consequentialist agent in the case of friendship concerns the nature of the psychological disposition which such an agent would have and how this kind of disposition sits with those which (...) are commonly thought proper to relations of friendship. To the extent that we are right, then, the rejoinders which indirect consequentialists have offered to the problem of alienation are ill directed and so do not succeed in meeting the real problem. In articulating what we see as the source of the alienation problem which friendship poses for consequentialism, we also hope to clarify the general distinction between dispositions and motives and to show how certain kinds of guiding internalized normative dispositions help us to define and therefore distinguish between various types of relationships. Undertaking this task may also help to identify some of the crucial issues for an adequate moral psychology of friendship and its place in any plausible ethical theory. (shrink)
In this paper I do three things. First, I argue that Stephen Yabloâ€™s influential account of mental causation is susceptible to counterexamples involving what I call disproportional mental causation. Second, I argue that similar counterexamples can be generated for any alternative account of mental causation that is like Yabloâ€™s in that it takes mental states and their physical realizers to causally compete. Third, I show that there are alternative nonreductive approaches to mental causation which reject the idea of causal competition, (...) and which thus are able to allow for disproportional mental causation. This, I argue, is a significant advantage for such noncompetitive accounts. (shrink)
Examine it in all lights and see if you can find that matter of fact…which you call vice…The vice entirely escapes you, as long as you consider the object. You can never find it until you turn your reflection into your own breast, and find a sentiment of disapprobation, which arises in you, toward that action. (Hume, 1978, pp. 468-9).
The assumption that the concept of phenomenal consciousness is pretheoretical is often found in the philosophical debates on consciousness. Unfortunately, this assumption has not received the kind of empirical attention that it deserves. We suspect that this is in part due to difficulties that arise in attempting to test folk intuitions about consciousness. In this article we elucidate and defend a key methodological principle for this work. We draw this principle out by considering recent experimental work on the topic by (...) Joshua Knobe and Jesse Prinz (2008). We charge that their studies do not establish that the folk have a concept of phenomenal consciousness in part because they compare group agents to individuals . The problem is that group agents and individuals differ in some significant ways in terms of functional organization and behavior. We propose that future experiments should establish that ordinary people are disposed to ascribe different mental states to entities that are given behaviorally and functionally equivalent descriptions. (shrink)
This paper contributes to an ongoing debate regarding the cognitive processes involved when one person predicts a target person's behavior and/or attributes a mental state to that target person. According to simulation theory, a person typically performs these tasks by employing some part of her brain as a simulation of what is going on in a corresponding part of the brain of the target person. I propose a general intuitive analysis of what 'simulation' means. Simulation is a particular way of (...) using one process to acquire knowledge about another process. What distinguishes simulation from other ways of acquiring knowledge is that simulation requires, for its non-accidental success, that the simulating process reflect significant aspects of the simulated process. This conceptual work is of independent philosophical interest, but it also enables me to argue for two conclusions that are of great significance to the debate about mental simulation theory. First, I argue that, in order to stake a non-trivial claim, simulation theory must hold that mental simulation involves what I call concretely similar processes. Second, I argue for the surprising conclusion that a significant class of cases that simulation theorists have claimed as intuitive cases of simulation do not actually involve simulation, after all. I close by sketching an alternative account that might handle these problematic cases. (shrink)
Do philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in the same way? In this article, we argue that they do not and that the philosophical concept of phenomenal consciousness does not coincide with the folk conception. We first offer experimental support for the hypothesis that philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in markedly different ways. We then explore experimentally the folk conception, proposing that for the folk, subjective experience is closely linked to valence. We conclude by considering (...) the implications of our findings for a central issue in the philosophy of mind, the hard problem of consciousness. (shrink)
A central claim in Kantian ethics is that an agent is properly morally motivated just in case she acts from duty alone. Bernard Williams, Michael Stocker, and Justin Oakley claim that certain emotionally infused actions, such as lending a compassionate helping hand, can only be done from compassion and not from duty. I argue that these critics have overlooked a distinction between an action's manner, how an action is done, and its motive, the agent's reason for acting. Through a (...) range of examples I demonstrate how an emotion can determine an action's manner without also serving as the motive. Thus, it is possible for an agent to act compassionately from duty alone. This distinction between the manner and the motive of an action not only restores a central claim in Kantian ethics but it also allows for an expanded role of emotions in moral action. (shrink)
In studying folk psychology, cognitive and developmental psychologists have mainly focused on how people conceive of non-experiential states such as beliefs and desires. As a result, we know very little about how non-philosophers (or the folk) understand the mental states that philosophers typically classify as being phenomenally conscious. In particular, it is not known whether the folk even tend to classify mental states in terms of their being or not being phenomenally conscious in the first place. Things have changed dramatically (...) in the last few years, however, with a flurry of ground-breaking research by psychologists and experimental philosophers. In this article I will review this work, carefully distinguishing between two questions: First, are the ascriptions that the folk make with regard to the mental states that philosophers classify as phenomenally conscious related to their decisions about whether morally right or wrong action has been done to an entity? Second, do the folk tend to classify mental states in the way that philosophers do, distinguishing between mental states that are phenomenally conscious and mental states that are not phenomenally conscious? (shrink)
These claims strike some philosophers as obviously false. “Hume’s confident assertions about the unobservability of beauty are breathtakingly counter-intuitive,” David McNaughton writes. “We see the beauty of a sunset; we hear the melodiousness of a tune; we taste and smell the delicate nuances of a vintage wine. Hume’s denial that we can detect beauty by the senses flies in the face of common experience” (McNaughton, 1988, p. 55). Understood as a phenomenological claim, this seems obviously correct—so obviously that one should (...) doubt whether Hume meant to be denying it. Surely when we find something beautiful, delicious, or even virtuous, we experience this as a matter of sensitivity to the observed object: the sunset, the wine, the person. But what kind of sensitivity is this? McNaughton intends to make a theoretical as well as a phenomenological objection to Hume; he claims that there is no difference in kind between the perception of value and other, more straightforward forms of perception. (shrink)
Some philosophers hold that „ought‟ is ambiguous between a sense expressing a propositional operator and a sense expressing a relation between an agent and an action. We defend the opposing view that „ought‟ always expresses a propositional operator against Mark Schroeder‟s recent objections that it cannot adequately accommodate an ambiguity in „ought‟ sentences between evaluative and deliberative readings, predicting readings of sentences that are not actually available. We show how adopting an independently well-motivated contrastivist semantics for „ought‟, according to which (...) „ought‟ is always relativized to a contrast set of relevant alternatives, enables us to explain the evaluative-deliberative ambiguity and why the availability of these readings depends on sentential grammar. (shrink)
Ethics and mathematics are normally treated independently in philosophical discussions. When comparisons are drawn between problems in the two areas, those comparisons tend to be highly local, concerning just one or two issues. Nevertheless, certain metaethicists have made bold claims to the effect that moral realism is on “no worse footing” than mathematical realism -- i.e. that one cannot reasonably reject moral realism without also rejecting mathematical realism. -/- In the absence of any remotely systematic survey of the relevant arguments, (...) however, the prima facie plausibility of such claims cannot be usefully judged. There is no way to guess whether the few local parallels that have been observed are symptomatic of pervasive ones. What is needed is a general overview of the relevant dialectical landscape – one which serves to suggest the likely extent of commonality between arguments in ethics and arguments in the philosophy of mathematics. -/- In this survey, I offer such an overview. I consider a wide array of arguments for mathematical realism, and against moral realism, and indiacte analogs to each. I argue that, while nothing definitive can be said at this point, the aforementioned bold claims do have significant prima facie plausibility. In particular, parallels between arguments in metaethics and arguments in the philosophy of mathematics seem to be much more systematic than is commonly supposed. (shrink)
Many philosophers have worried about what philosophy is. Often they have looked for answers by considering what it is that philosophers do. Given the diversity of topics and methods found in philosophy, however, we propose a different approach. In this article we consider the philosophical temperament, asking an alternative question: What are philosophers like? Our answer is that one important aspect of the philosophical temperament is that philosophers are especially reflective. This claim is supported by a study of more than (...) 5,000 philosophers and non-philosophers, the results of which indicate that even when we control for overall education level, philosophers tend to be significantly more reflective than their peers. We then illustrate this tendency by considering what we know about the philosophizing of a few prominent philosophers. Recognizing this aspect of the philosophical temperament, it is natural to wonder how philosophers came to be this way: Does philosophical training teach reflectivity or do more reflective people tend to gravitate to philosophy? We consider the limitations of our data with respect to this question and suggest that a longitudinal study be conducted. (shrink)