In this paper we argue that the formalisms for decoherence originally devised to deal just with closed or open systems can be subsumed under a general conceptual framework, in such a way that they cooperate in the understanding of the same physical phenomenon. This new perspective dissolves certain conceptual difficulties of the einselection program but, at the same time, shows that the openness of the quantum system is not the essential ingredient for decoherence. †To contact the authors, please write to: (...) Mario Castagnino, CONICET-IAFE, Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires, Casilla de Correos 67, Sucursal 28, 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina; Roberto Laura, IFIR-Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Av. Pellegrini 250, 2000 Rosario, Argentina; Olimpia Lombardi, CONICET-Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires, C. Larralde 3440, 6°D, 1430, Buenos Aires; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
The burden of this piece is to draw together into a coherent whole the somewhat diverse strands of Israel Scheffler's thought on the philosophy of religion. Extrapolating from personal discussions with Professor Scheffler, various of his books, articles, and other unpublished materials authored and kindly provided by him, I contend that he adumbrates a post-empiricist rendering of religious belief which masterfully avoids some philosophical problems, while unwittingly giving rise to others. Committed to the view that the methodology of science â (...) in one or other of its more acceptable guises â provides the most reliable measure of the content and structure of reality. Scheffler is bound conceptually to redefine Jewish belief in such a way that the traditional conflict between religion and science never emerges. Consistent with this end, he is concerned to divest traditional Judaism of its metaphysical garb, so that what remains are simply the matters of living to which religion ought properly on his view address itself. The Bible is thus reconceptualized as a piece of rich literature, of no real difference in logical kind to any other piece of rich literature, except that it defines uniquely, along with the Torah and other relevant Jewish literature, the history of the particular community whose perception of human values and meaningfulness forms the core of what it is to be Jewish. (shrink)
I reply to LauraDuhan Kaplan that I do not suggest women's political choices concerning pacifism are determined by biology. Although I contend the practice of mothering does not imply a pacifist commitment, this does not imply that the practice of mothering is inconsistent with such a commitment. Further, because the practice of mothering is not limited to women, even if it is inconsistent with pacifist commitment, this does not limit choices based on biology.
I suggest that philosophical writers should connect epistemological theorizing with life experience in order to explore the complex relationship between the two. The relationship of theory to experience does not fit the neat hierarchical model of a small number of general organizing principles giving form to or receiving form from a large mass of facts. Instead, as the narrative of my honeymoon and my life following it suggests, philosophical theories are one of the many genres of stories philosophers tell themselves (...) in the process of creating and recreating personal identities and personae. (shrink)
Levinas’s conception of listening for the “trace” of the infinite implies that the human spirit grows when it comes into contact with something greater than it had previously known. When Levinas reads the Talmud, sourcebook of Jewish Law, he tries to enter into conversation with it, allowing the meaning of the text to expand to touch his own contemporary concerns. At the flip side of this expansion, however, lies my worry that the text junctions as a “totality,” assimilating all contemporary (...) concerns to its discussions. At this time of rebuilding in Jewish history, Jews cannot afford narrow conceptions of Jewish practice. This essay does not attempt to elucidateLevinas’s thought, but to use some insights gained from reading his work to think about contemporary Judaism. (shrink)
Autobiographical writing in philosophy class encourages beginning students to use their own philosophical questions, emotions, and difficult experiences to unlock the meaning of a philosophical text, and encourages advanced students to engage in original philosophical writing. Philosophical justification for the approach can be found in the concepts of metaphorical thinking, historicity, multicultural voices, textual hermeneutics, the metaphysics of experience, the logic of discovery, and intersubjectivity. Examples of student assignments and student writing illustrate the approach. Learning resources for teachers and suggested (...) solutions to practical problems offer a helpful starting point. (shrink)
Beginning with a narrative about social reactions to my own temporary disfigurement, I note that an individual’s disfigurement can affect others by making them feel unsettled and unsafe. The contemporary approach to disfigurement, exemplified in the practice of cosmetic surgery, focuses on changing the disfigured individual. In contrast, ancient priestly rituals in Israelite culture focus on reintegrating the individual into the community. I compare and contrast the two approaches, noting the value of reintegration rituals, but also recognizing their insufficiency in (...) several contemporary situations. (shrink)
The paper is triggered by an account of a midnight when wordless strands of erotic and parental love began to weave themselves together into a theoryof the family. The theory is then put into words, borrowing from Emmanuel Levinas 's discussion of "Eros and Fecundity" in Totality and Infinity. A commitment to family is simply a special case of ethical relationships in which family members are constantly drawn outside of themselves in response to one another. To have family connections is (...) to have a future, i.e., a commitment to what is unknown, unknowable, and ever-unfolding. (shrink)
This essay explores the intersection of the ideas of Emmanuel Levinas and theistic existentialism, by exploring the metaphor of being confronted by the blank face of God in times of great stress. Levinas criticizes the history of metaphysics for focusing exclusively on the analysis of objects. He aims to redirect philosophy towards the study of relationships, and focuses on the experience of being confronted by another human face. Jean-Paul Sartre’s proof of the nonexistence of God illustrates Levinas’s critique. Sartre treats (...) God as an object with determinate properties, and concludes that all who believe in God are seeking a false sense of security. Many theisticexistentialists, however, speak of God as a partner in relationship, rather than as a thing, and do not expect to be freed from uncertainty or responsibility through a relationship with God. (shrink)
The “modest realism” described by Joe Frank Jones, III offers a sound methodological model for developing both self-understanding and philosophical theories. Claire Chafee’s play Why We Have a Body illustrates the pitfalls of living both a thoroughgoing realism and a thoroughgoing idealism and argues for the conception of a life story as a project in which discovery and invention play side by side.Stanley Cavell argues that the shape of a philosophy mirrors the shape of a philosopher’s life. Thereby he suggests (...) that Ludwig Wittgenstein saw his own revolutionary philosophical work as a species of modest realism, i. e., continuing to turn in fruitful directions,rather than as a species of anti-idealism, i. e., rejecting an entire tradition of philosophical theorizing. (shrink)
The conventions of positivism, still the standard model for academic discourse, require philosophers to take knowledge out of the context of personal experience. In this essay, I argue that such a decontextualization impoverished the development of moral and epistemological knowledge. I propose to contextualize such knowledge by using the personal essay as a style of philosophical writing. As literary style shapes what can be thought and said, adoption of a different literary style calls for a reinterpretation of philosophy’s understanding of (...) the self, the quest for truth, and the nature of universality. (shrink)
This essay is a response to the comments and critique of Laura Purdy to my earlier paper "Re-Fusing Nature/Nurture" (1983, 621-632). In it I re-emphasize that the traditional nature/nurture dichotomy is based upon an unacceptable ontology and briefly note the type of metaphysic that would serve as a more appropriate basis.
This essay is a discussion of the radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger. It is an assessment of the moral advice that she dispenses her radio show, and kinds of criticisms to which she has been subjected.
Peter van Inwagen contends that free will is a mystery. Here I present an argument in the spirit of van Inwagen's. According to the Assimilation Argument, libertarians cannot plausibly distinguish causally undetermined actions, the ones they take to be exercises of free will, from overtly randomized outcomes of the sort nobody would count as exercises of free will. I contend that the Assimilation Argument improves on related arguments in locating the crucial issues between van Inwagen and libertarians who hope to (...) demystify free will, while avoiding objections these arguments have faced. (shrink)
In this comprehensive new study of human free agency, Laura Waddell Ekstrom critically surveys contemporary philosophical literature and provides a novel account of the conditions for free action. Ekstrom argues that incompatibilism concerning free will and causal determinism is true and thus the right account of the nature of free action must be indeterminist in nature. She examines a variety of libertarian approaches, ultimately defending an account relying on indeterministic causation among events and appealing to agent causation only in (...) a reducible sense. Written in an engaging style and incorporating recent scholarship, this study is critical reading for scholars and students interested in the topics of motivation, causation, responsibility, and freedom. In broadly covering the important positions of others along with its exposition of the author’s own view, Free Will provides both a significant scholarly contribution and a valuable text for courses in metaphysics and action theory. (shrink)
The physics and metaphysics of identity and individuality Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s11016-010-9463-7 Authors Don Howard, Department of Philosophy and Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA Bas C. van Fraassen, Philosophy Department, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA Otávio Bueno, Department of Philosophy, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33124, USA Elena Castellani, Department of Philosophy, University of Florence, Via Bolognese 52, 50139 (...) Florence, Italy Laura Crosilla, Department of Pure Mathematics, School of Mathematics, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT UK Steven French, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK Décio Krause, Department of Philosophy, Federal University of Santa Catarina, 88040-900 Campus Trindade, Florianópolis, SC Brazil Journal Metascience Online ISSN 1467-9981 Print ISSN 0815-0796. (shrink)
A philosophically and historically sensitive account of the engagement of the major protagonists of Victorian British philosophy, Reforming Philosophy considers the controversies between William Whewell and John Stuart Mill on the topics of science, morality, politics, and economics. By situating their debate within the larger context of Victorian society and its concerns, Laura Snyder shows how two very different men—Whewell, an educator, Anglican priest, and critic of science; and Mill, a philosopher, political economist, and parliamentarian—reacted to the challenges of (...) their times, each seeking to reform science as a means of reforming society as a whole. The first book-length examination of the dispute between Mill and Whewell in its entirety, Reforming Philosophy provides a rich and nuanced understanding of the intellectual spirit of Victorian Britain and will be welcomed by philosophers and historians of science, scholars of Victorian studies, and students of the history of philosophy and political economy. (shrink)
While the lives of millions of people are overshadowed by poverty and destitution, a relatively small subset of the world's population enjoys an unprecedented level of wealth. No doubt the world's rich have duties to address the plight of the global poor. But should we think of these as duties of egalitarian justice much like those applying domestically, or as weaker duties of humanitarian assistance? In this book, Laura Valentini offers an in-depth critique of the two most prominent answers (...) to this question, cosmopolitanism and statism, and develops a novel normative framework for addressing it. Central to this framework is the idea that, unlike duties of assistance - which bind us to help the needy - duties of justice place constraints on the ways we may legitimately coerce one another. Since coercion exists domestically as well as internationally, duties of justice apply to both realms. The forms of coercion characterizing these two realms, however, differ, and so the content of duties of justice varies across them. Valentini concludes that given the nature of existing international coercion, global justice requires more than statist assistance, yet less than full cosmopolitan equality. (shrink)
. Part C of this three part series is the presentation from the Oxford style debate held at the Tenth Annual International Conference Promoting Business Ethics between Laura Hartman, J.D., and Dr. Moses Pava on topics related to the EverQuest® v. EverCrack case (Part B). In a traditional Oxford style debate, two debaters take opposing viewpoints and the third debater argues the neutral position. At the Conference, the modified format featured the two debaters presenting diametrically opposing views – (...) corporate responsibility versus personal responsibility. This modified format was also used during the Ethics Awareness Week (Part A), with University professors presenting the debate before the student body. Ms. Hartman’s position focused on the personal responsibility by Mr Woolley while Dr. Pava opined that Sony Online Entertainment had corporate responsibility toward Mr. Woolley and all other individuals similarly situated. (shrink)
Be it fair trade coffee or foreign oil, our choices as consumers affect the well-being of humans around the globe, not to mention the natural world and of course ourselves. Consumption is a serious ethical issue, and Christian writers throughout history have weighed in, discussing topics such as affluence and poverty, greed and gluttony, and proper stewardship of resources. These voices are often at odds, however. In this book, Laura M. Hartman formulates a coherent Christian ethic of consumption, imposing (...) order on the debate by dividing it into four imperatives: Christians are to consume in ways that avoid sin, embrace creation, love one's neighbor, and envision the future. An adequate ethics of consumption, she argues, must include all four considerations as tools for discernment, even when they seem to contradict one another. The book includes discussions of Christian practices such as fasting, gratitude, solidarity, gift-giving, Sabbath-keeping, and the Eucharist. Using exemplars from the Christian tradition and practical examples from everyday life, The Christian Consumer offers a thoughtful guide to ethical consumption. (shrink)
Introduction Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-17 DOI 10.1007/s10503-011-9238-3 Authors Ana Laura Nettel, Law Department, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana—Azcapotzalco (UAM-A), Amsterdam 180-403 Colonia Hipódromo Condesa, 06100 Mexico, DF, Mexico Georges Roque, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), CRAL, EHESS/CNRS, 96 Bd. Raspail, 75006 Paris, France Journal Argumentation Online ISSN 1572-8374 Print ISSN 0920-427X.
It would be nice if good old a priori conceptual analysis were possible. For many years conceptual analysis was out of fashion, in large part because of the excessive ambitions of verificationist theories of meaning._ _However, those days are over._ _A priori conceptual analysis is once again part of the philosophical mainstream._ _This renewed popularity, moreover, is well-founded. Modern philosophical analysts have exploited developments in philosophical semantics to formulate analyses which avoid the counterintuitive consequences of verificationism, while vindicating our ability (...) to know a priori precisely what it is our words and thoughts represent._ _Despite its apparent promise, however, I. (shrink)
The Queen's College, Oxford, UK In his article `Facts and Principles', G.A. Cohen attempts to refute constructivist approaches to justification by showing that, contrary to what their proponents claim, fundamental normative principles are fact- in sensitive. We argue that Cohen's `fact-insensitivity thesis' does not provide a successful refutation of constructivism because it pertains to an area of meta-ethics which differs from the one tackled by constructivists. While Cohen's thesis concerns the logical structure of normative principles, constructivists ask how normative principles (...) should be justified . In particular, their claim that justified fundamental normative principles are fact-sensitive follows from a commitment to agnosticism about the existence of objective moral facts. We therefore conclude that, in order to refute constructivism, Cohen would have to address questions of justification, and take a stand on those long-standing meta-ethical debates about the ontological status of moral notions (for example, realism versus anti-realism) with respect to which he himself wants to remain agnostic. Key Words: John Rawls normative justification realism versus anti-realism methodological versus substantive principles. (shrink)