The following is a transcript of the interview I (Yasuko Kitano) conducted with Neil Levy (The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, CAPPE) on the 23rd in July 2009, while he was in Tokyo to give a series of lectures on neuroethics at The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy. I edited his words for publication with his approval.
The concept of luck has played an important role in debates concerning free will and moral responsibility, yet participants in these debates have relied upon an intuitive notion of what luck is. Neil Levy develops an account of luck, which is then applied to the free will debate. He argues that the standard luck objection succeeds against common accounts of libertarian free will, but that it is possible to amend libertarian accounts so that they are no more vulnerable to (...) luck than is compatibilism. But compatibilist accounts of luck are themselves vulnerable to a powerful luck objection: historical compatibilisms cannot satisfactorily explain how agents can take responsibility for their constitutive luck; non-historical compatibilisms run into insurmountable difficulties with the epistemic condition on control over action. Levy argues that because epistemic conditions on control are so demanding that they are rarely satisfied, agents are not blameworthy for performing actions that they take to be best in a given situation. It follows that if there are any actions for which agents are responsible, they are akratic actions; but even these are unacceptably subject to luck. Levy goes on to discuss recent non-historical compatibilisms, and argues that they do not offer a viable alternative to control-based compatibilisms. He suggests that luck undermines our freedom and moral responsibility no matter whether determinism is true or not. (shrink)
In this highly original book, Donald Levy considers the most important and persuasive of these philosophical criticisms, as articulated by four figures: Ludwig Wittgenstein, William James, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Adolf Grunbaum.
The author comments on the article “The Neurobiology of Addiction: Implications for Voluntary Control of Behavior,‘ by S. E. Hyman. Hyman’s article suggests that addicted individuals have impairments in cognitive control of behavior. The author agrees with Hyman’s view that addiction weakens the addict’s ability to align his actions with his judgments. The author states that neuroethics may focus on brains and highlight key aspects of behavior but we still risk missing explanatory elements. Accession Number: 24077912; Authors: Levy, Neil (...) 1,2; Email Address: email@example.com; Affiliations: 1: University of Melbourne, Parkville 3010, Australia; 2: University of Oxford; Subject: ADDICTIONS; Subject: ALCOHOLISM; Subject: COGNITION; Subject: BEHAVIOR; Subject: JUDGMENT; Subject: HYMAN, S. E.; Subject: NEUROBIOLOGY; Number of Pages: 2p. (shrink)
This article summarizes the theory of federalism as non-domination Iris Marion Young began to develop in her final years, a theory of self-government that tried to recognize interconnectedness. Levy also poses an objection to that theory: non-domination cannot do the work Young needed of it, because it is a theory about the merits of decisions not about jurisdiction over them. The article concludes with an attempt to give Young the last word.
O estruturalismo alcançou seu zênite de influência no pensamento francês nos anos 60 e 70 do século XX, quando Lévinas escreveu os seus livros mais importantes. Gostaria, portanto, de examinar sua concepção das implicações filosóficas desta corrente teorético-metodológica, cujo impacto nas sciences humaines quase não deixou nenhum pensador francês indiferente na época. Lévinas acusou o estruturalismo de não passar de uma ilusão, na medida em que sua espontaneidade subjetiva faz com que impulsos e instintos sejam descritos como valores da razão (...) prática. Todavia, apesar da divergência entre Lévinas, para quem a ciência deve estar ao serviço da ética, e Lévi-Strauss, que concebia a ética no melhor dos casos como resultado da pesquisa científica e não como seu fim, ambos pensadores embasaram sua ética na mesma premissa: respeitar a alteridade do Outro, de cada pessoa, cada sociedade e cada cultura. A crítica de Lévinas não visava a refutação do estruturalismo mas suas premissas teóricas. Se elas pudessem ser ratificadas, alguém poderia justificar a metodologia estruturalista. Portanto, a palavra-chave aqui é “se”. Sua crítica não é nenhuma negação absoluta. Sua principal crítica foi a de que o estruturalismo era uma teoria científica que não deixava nenhum lugar para a ética; portanto, Lévinas também considerava o estruturalismo uma ameaça ao judaísmo, onde a ética ocupa um importante lugar. No início do século XX, Rosenzweig – assim como Lévinas no seu fim – buscou propor uma saída da concepção de totalidade porque não deixava lugar adequado para o estatuto do ser humano como sujeito. Para Rosenzweig, tratava-se antes de mais nada de uma revolta contra a filosofia idealista de Hegel, enquanto que para Lévinas compreendia uma crítica do estruturalismo que dava primazia a estruturas inconscientes sobre a subjetividade humana. Apenas esta pode servir de base para uma ética que fosse o propósito maior de sua filosofia PALAVRAS-CHAVE – Estruturalismo. Filosofia Francesa. Lévinas. Lévi-Strauss. Rosenzweig. ABSTRACT Structuralism reached the peak of its influence in French thought in the sixties and seventies of the 20th century when Lévinas wrote his most important books. Therefore I want to examine his contention with the philosophical implications of this theoreticalmethodological current to whose impact on “les sciences humaines” almost no French thinker remained indifferent at the time. Lévinas accused structuralism that according to it subjective spontaneity is no more than an illusion by which impulses and instincts are described as values of practical reason. However, notwithstanding the divergence between Lévinas, according to whom science must serve ethics, and Lévi-Strauss, according to whom ethics is at most a result of scientific research and not its end, both established their ethics on the same assumption: to respect the otherness of the other, of every person, every society, every culture. Lévinas’ criticism did not aim at refuting structuralism but at wrestling with its theoretical assumptions. If they were possible of ratification, one might justify structuralist methodology. So the keyword is “if”. His critique is no absolute denial. His main critique was that structuralism was a scientific theory that left no place for ethics; therefore he also considered structuralism to be a danger to Judaism where ethics occupies an important place. Rosenzweig in the beginning of the 20th century as well as Lévinas at its end endeavored to propose an outlet frm the conception of totality because it did not leave any adequate place for man’s status as a subject. For Rosenzweig that had been first of all a revolt against Hegel’s idealistic philosophy, while for Lévinas it comprised a critique of structuralism that awarded priority to unconscious structures over human subjectivity. Only the latter can serve as a basis for ethics which was the chief goal of his philosophy. KEY WORDS – Structuralism. French Philosophy. Lévinas. Lévi-Strauss. Rosenzweig. (shrink)
In this article we survey six recent developments in the philosophical literature on free will and moral responsibility: (1) Harry Frankfurt's argument that moral responsibility does not require the freedom to do otherwise; (2) the heightened focus upon the source of free actions; (3) the debate over whether moral responsibility is an essentially historical concept; (4) recent compatibilist attempts to resurrect the thesis that moral responsibility requires the freedom to do otherwise; (5) the role of the control condition in free (...) will and moral responsibility, and finally (6) the debate centering on luck. (shrink)
Neuroethics is a rapidly growing subfield, straddling applied ethics, moral psychology and philosophy of mind. It has clear affinities to bioethics, inasmuch as both are responses to new developments in science and technology, but its scope is far broader and more ambitious because neuroethics is as much concerned with how the sciences of the mind illuminate traditional philosophical questions as it is with questions concerning the permissibility of using technologies stemming from these sciences. In this article, I sketch the two (...) branches of neuroethics, the applied and the philosophical, and illustrate how they interact. I also consider representative themes from each: the ethics of dampening memory and of cognitive enhancement, on the one hand, and the attack upon the reliability of deontological intuitions and upon free will, on the other. (shrink)
In 1997, a Scottish surgeon by the name of Robert Smith was approached by a man with an unusual request: he wanted his apparently healthy lower left leg amputated. Although details about the case are sketchy, the would-be amputee appears to have desired the amputation on the grounds that his left foot wasn’t part of him – it felt alien. After consultation with psychiatrists, Smith performed the amputation. Two and a half years later, the patient reported that his life had (...) been transformed for the better by the operation . A second patient was also reported as having been satisfied with his amputation . (shrink)
The question of the psychopath's responsibility for his or her wrongdoing has received considerable attention. Much of this attention has been directed toward whether psychopaths are a counterexample to motivational internalism (MI): Do they possess normal moral beliefs, which fail to motivate them? In this paper, I argue that this is a question that remains conceptually and empirically intractable, and that we ought to settle the psychopath's responsibility in some other way. I argue that recent empirical work on the moral (...) judgments of psychopaths provides us with good reason to think that they are not fully responsible agents, because their actions cannot express the kinds of ill-will toward others that grounds attributions of distinctively moral responsibility. I defend this view against objections, especially those due to an influential account of moral responsibility that holds that moral knowledge is not necessary for responsibility. (shrink)
I develop an account of weakness of the will that is driven by experimental evidence from cognitive and social psychology. I will argue that this account demonstrates that there is no such thing as weakness of the will: no psychological kind corresponds to it. Instead, weakness of the will ought to be understood as depletion of System II resources. Neither the explanatory purposes of psychology nor our practical purposes as agents are well-served by retaining the concept. I therefore suggest that (...) we ought to jettison it, in favour of the vocabulary and concepts of cognitive psychology. (shrink)
The extended mind thesis is the claim that mental states extend beyond the skulls of the agents whose states they are. This seemingly obscure and bizarre claim has far-reaching implications for neuroethics, I argue. In the first half of this article, I sketch the extended mind thesis and defend it against criticisms. In the second half, I turn to its neuroethical implications. I argue that the extended mind thesis entails the falsity of the claim that interventions into the brain are (...) especially problematic just because they are internal interventions, but that many objections to such interventions rely, at least in part, on this claim. Further, I argue that the thesis alters the focus of neuroethics, away from the question of whether we ought to allow interventions into the mind, and toward the question of which interventions we ought to allow and under what conditions. The extended mind thesis dramatically expands the scope of neuroethics: because interventions into the environment of agents can count as interventions into their minds, decisions concerning such interventions become questions for neuroethics. (shrink)
Libertarianism in all its varieties is widely taken to be vulnerable to a serious problem of present luck, inasmuch as it requires indeterminism somewhere in the causal chain leading to action. Genuine indeterminism entails luck, and lack of control over the ensuing action. Compatibilism, by contrast, is generally taken to be free of the problem of present luck, inasmuch as it does not require indeterminism in the causal chain. I argue that this view is false: compatibilism is subject to a (...) problem of present luck. Taken by itself, the compatibilist problem with present luck is less serious than the analogous problem confronting libertarianism. However, its effects are just as devastating for the entire account of freedom: the present luck confronting compatibilism is sufficient to undermine the compatibilist response to distant – constitutive – luck. (shrink)
Doxastic responsibility matters, morally and epistemologically. Morally, because many of our intuitive ascriptions of blame seem to track back to agents’ apparent responsibility for beliefs; epistemologically because some philosophers identify epistemic justification with deontological permissibility. But there is a powerful argument which seems to show that we are rarely or never responsible for our beliefs, because we cannot control them. I examine various possible responses to this argument, which aim to show either that doxastic responsibility does not require that we (...) control our beliefs, or that as a matter of fact we do exercise the right kind of control over our beliefs. I argue that the existing arguments are all wanting: in fact, our lack of control over our beliefs typically excuses us of responsibility for them. (shrink)
A number of writers have tackled the task of characterizing the differences between analytic and Continental philosophy.I suggest that these attempts have indeed captured the most important divergences between the two styles but have left the explanation of the differences mysterious.I argue that analytic philosophy is usefully seen as philosophy conducted within a paradigm, in Kuhn’s sense of the word, whereas Continental philosophy assumes much less in the way of shared presuppositions, problems, methods and approaches.This important opposition accounts for all (...) those features that have rightly been held to constitute the difference between the two traditions.I ﬁnish with some reﬂections on the relative superiority of each tradition and by highlighting the characteristic deﬁciencies of each. (shrink)
Recent work in neuroimaging suggests that some patients diagnosed as being in the persistent vegetative state are actually conscious. In this paper, we critically examine this new evidence. We argue that though it remains open to alternative interpretations, it strongly suggests the presence of consciousness in some patients. However, we argue that its ethical significance is less than many people seem to think. There are several different kinds of consciousness, and though all kinds of consciousness have some ethical significance, different (...) kinds underwrite different kinds of moral value. Demonstrating that patients have phenomenal consciousness — conscious states with some kind of qualitative feel to them — shows that they are moral patients, whose welfare must be taken into consideration. But only if they are subjects of a sophisticated kind of access consciousness — where access consciousness entails global availability of information to cognitive systems — are they persons, in the technical sense of the word employed by philosophers. In this sense, being a person is having the full moral status of ordinary human beings. We call for further research which might settle whether patients who manifest signs of consciousness possess the sophisticated kind of access consciousness required for personhood. (shrink)
Frankfurt-style cases are widely taken to show that agents do not need alternative possibilities to be morally responsible for their actions. Many philosophers take these cases to constitute a powerful argument for compatibilism: if we do not need alternative possibilities for moral responsibility, it is hard to see what the attraction of indeterminism might be. I defend the claim that even though Frankfurt-style cases establish that agents can be responsible for their actions despite lacking alternatives, agents can only be responsible (...) if they possess certain powers, and possession of these powers is - arguably - incompatible with determinism. Because this is the case, Frankfurt-style cases fail to advance the debate between compatibilism and incompatibilism. (shrink)
The United States Supreme Court hasrecently ruled that virtual child pornographyis protected free speech, partly on the groundsthat virtual pornography does not harm actualchildren. I review the evidence for thecontention that virtual pornography might harmchildren, and find that it is, at best,inconclusive. Saying that virtual childpornography does not harm actual children isnot to say that it is completely harmless,however. Child pornography, actual or virtual,necessarily eroticizes inequality; in a sexistsociety it therefore contributes to thesubordination of women.
Disorders of volition are often accompanied by, and may even be caused by, disruptions in the phenomenology of agency. Yet the phenomenology of agency is at present little explored. In this paper we attempt to describe the experience of normal agency, in order to uncover its representational content.
Recent findings in neuroscience, evolutionary biology and psychology seem to threaten the existence or the objectivity of morality. Moral theory and practice is founded, ultimately, upon moral intuition, but these empirical findings seem to show that our intuitions are responses to nonmoral features of the world, not to moral properties. They therefore might be taken to show that our moral intuitions are systematically unreliable. I examine three cognitive scientific challenges to morality, and suggest possible lines of reply to them. I (...) divide these replies into two groups: we might confront the threat, showing that it does not have the claimed implications for morality; or we might bite the bullet, accepting that the claims have moral implications, but incorporating these claims into morality. I suggest that unless we are able to bite the bullet, when confronted by cognitive scientific challenges, there is a real possibility that morality will be threatened. This fact gives us a weighty reason to adopt a metaethics that makes it relatively easy to bite cognitive scientific bullets. Moral constructivism, in one of its many forms, makes these bullets more palatable; therefore, the cognitive scientific challenges provide us with an additional reason to adopt a constructivist metaethics. (shrink)
Gregory Kavka's 'Toxin Puzzle' suggests that I cannot intend to perform a counter-preferential action A even if I have a strong self-interested reason to form this intention. The 'Rationalist Solution,' however, suggests that I can form this intention. For even though it is counter-preferential, A-ing is actually rational given that the intention behind it is rational. Two arguments are offered for this proposition that the rationality of the intention to A transfers to A-ing itself: the 'Self-Promise Argument' and David Gauthier's (...) 'Rational Self-Interest Argument.' But both arguments – and therefore the Rationalist Solution – fail. The Self-Promise Argument fails because my intention to A does not constitute a promise to myself that I am obligated to honor. And Gauthier's Rational Self-Interest Argument fails to rule out the possibility of rational irrationality. (shrink)
Carl Craver’s recent book offers an account of the explanatory and theoretical structure of neuroscience. It depicts it as centered around the idea of achieving mechanistic understanding, i.e., obtaining knowledge of how a set of underlying components interacts to produce a given function of the brain. Its core account of mechanistic explanation and relevance is causal-manipulationist in spirit, and offers substantial insight into casual explanation in brain science and the associated notion of levels of explanation. However, the focus on mechanistic (...) explanation leaves some open questions regarding the role of computation and cognition. (shrink)
In a series of articles, Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons have argued that Richard Boyd’s defence of moral realism, utilizing a causal theory of reference, fails. Horgan and Timmons construct a twin Earth-style thought experiment which, they claim, generates intuitions inconsistent with the realist account. In their thought experiment, the use of (allegedly) moral terms at a world is causally regulated by some property distinct from that regulating their use here on Earth; nevertheless, Horgan and Timmons claim, it is intuitive (...) that the inhabitants of this world disagree with us in their moral claims. Since any disagreement would be merely verbal were the alleged moral facts identical to or constituted by different natural facts, the identity or constitution claim must be false. I argue that their argument fails. Horgan and Timmons’ thought experiment is underdescribed; when we fill out the details, I claim, we shall see that the challenge to moral realism fades away. I sketch two possible interpretations of the (apparently) moral claims of the inhabitants of moral Twin Earth. On one interpretation, they fail to disagree with us because they actually agree with us; on the other, they fail to disagree with us because they are not moralizers at all. Which interpretation is true, I argue, will depend on the facts that explain the differences between us and the inhabitants of moral twin Earth. (shrink)
The self-deceived are usually held to be moral responsible for their state. I argue that this attribution of responsibility makes sense only against the background of the traditional conception of self-deception, a conception that is now widely rejected. In its place, a new conception of self-deception has been articulated, which requires neither intentional action by self-deceived agents, nor that they possess contradictory beliefs. This new conception has neither need nor place for attributions of moral responsibility to the self-deceived in paradigmatic (...) cases. Accordingly, we should take the final step toward abandoning the traditional conception, and drop the automatic attribution of responsibility. Self-deception is simply a kind of mistake, and has no more necessary connection to culpability than have other intellectual errors. (shrink)
Ned Block has influentially distinguished two kinds of consciousness, access and phenomenal consciousness. He argues that these two kinds of consciousness can dissociate, and therefore we cannot rely upon subjective report in constructing a science of consciousness. I argue that none of Block's evidence better supports his claim than the rival view, that access and phenomenal consciousness are perfectly correlated. Since Block's view is counterintuitive, and has wildly implausible implications, the fact that there is no evidence that better supports it (...) than the rival view should lead us to reject it. (shrink)
This introduction to the special issue on empirically informed moral theory sketches the more important contributions to the field in the past several years. Attention is paid to experimental philosophy, the work of philosophers like Harman and Doris, and that of psychologists like Haidt and Hauser.
Theories of self-deception divide into those that hold that the state is characterized by some kind of synchronic tension or conflict between propositional attitudes and those that deny this. Proponents of the latter like Al Mele claim that their theories are more parsimonious, because they do not require us to postulate any psychological mechanisms beyond those which have been independently verified. But if we can show that there are real cases of motivated believing which are characterized by conflicting propositional attitudes, (...) however, the parsimony argument against incongruent mental state accounts is undermined. I argue that anosognosia presents us with a real-life example of motivated belief together with (sub)-doxastic conflict. (shrink)
The Surprise Exam Paradox continues to perplex and torment despite the many solutions that have been offered. This paper proposes to end the intrigue once and for all by refuting one of the central pillars of the Surprise Exam Paradox, the 'No Friday Argument,' which concludes that an exam given on the last day of the testing period cannot be a surprise. This refutation consists of three arguments, all of which are borrowed from the literature: the 'Unprojectible Announcement Argument,' the (...) 'Wright & Sudbury Argument,' and the 'Epistemic Blindspot Argument.' The reason that the Surprise Exam Paradox has persisted this long is not because any of these arguments is problematic. On the contrary, each of them is correct. The reason that it has persisted so long is because each argument is only part of the solution. The correct solution requires all three of them to be combined together. Once they are, we may see exactly why the No Friday Argument fails and therefore why we have a solution to the Surprise Exam Paradox that should stick. (shrink)
So-called downshifters seek more meaningful lives by decreasing the amount of time they devote to work, leaving more time for the valuable goods of friendship, family and personal development. But though these are indeed meaning-conferring activities, they do not have the right structure to count as superlatively meaningful. Only in work – of a certain kind – can superlative meaning be found. It is by active engagements in projects, which are activities of the right structure, dedicated to the achievement of (...) goods beyond ourselves, that we make our lives superlatively meaningful. (shrink)
According to one influential view, advanced by Jonathan Adler, David Owens and Susan Hurley, epistemic akrasia is impossible because when we form a full belief, any apparent evidence against that belief loses its power over us. Thus theoretical reasoning is quite unlike practical reasoning, in that in the latter our desires continue to exert a pull, even when they are outweighed by countervailing considerations. I call this argument against the possibility of epistemic akrasia the subsumption view. The subsumption view accurately (...) reflects the nature of reasoning in a range of everyday cases. But, as I show, it is quite false with regard to controversial questions, like philosophical disputes. In these, evidence against our best judgments continues to exert a hold on us. Thus, the claimed disanalogy between practical and theoretical reasoning fails. (shrink)
Children, even very young children, distinguish moral from conventional transgressions, inasmuch as they hold that the former, but not the latter, would still be wrong if there was no rule prohibiting them. Many people have taken this finding as evidence that morality is objective, and therefore universal. I argue that reflection on the phenomenon of imaginative resistance will lead us to question these claims. If a concept applies in virtue of the obtaining of a set of more basic facts, then (...) it is authority independent, and we therefore resist the attempts of authorities to claim that it does not apply. Thus, the moral/conventional distinction is a product of imaginative resistance to claims that a concept does not apply when its supervenience base is in place (or vice versa). All we can rightfully conclude from the fact that children are disposed to make the moral/conventional distinction is that our moral concepts belong to the class of authority-independent concepts. Though the set of basic facts in virtue of which an authority-independent concept obtains must be objective, the concept itself might be conventional, inasmuch as we could easily draw its boundaries wider or narrower, or fail to have a concept that corresponds to these properties at all. (shrink)
In this paper, I introduce the notion of a Frankfurt Enabler, a counterfactual intervener poised, should a signal for intervention be received, to enable an agent to perform a mental or physical action. Frankfurt enablers demonstrate, I claim, that merely counterfactual conditions are sometimes relevant to assessing what capacities agents possess. Since this is the case, we are not entitled to conclude that agents in standard Frankfurt-style cases retain their responsibility-ensuring capacities. There is no principled rationale for bracketing counterfactual interveners (...) in standard Frankfurt-style cases, but admitting their relevance when they are Frankfurt enablers. I argue that the intuition that we ought to bracket counterfactual interveners is, at bottom, an expression of a mistaken internalist view about the mental. (shrink)
Some philosophers have criticized the use of psychopharmaceuticals on the grounds that even if these drugs enhance the person using them, they threaten their authenticity. Others have replied by pointing out that the conception of authenticity upon which this argument rests is contestable; on a rival conception, psychopharmaceuticals might be used to enhance our authenticity. Since, however, it is difficult to decide between these competing conceptions of authenticity, the debate seems to end in a stalemate. I suggest that we need (...) not resolve this debate to end the stalemate. New technologies which alter the self can be understood within the framework of the first conception of authenticity, I suggest, not as threatening the authentic self, but rather as bringing the outward appearance of the self into line with its deepest essence. Since psychopharmaceutical use can plausibly be understood on this model, it can be seen as enhancing our authenticity on either conception. (shrink)
It is, as Dana Nelkin (2004) says, a rare point of agreement among participants in the free will debate that rational deliberation presupposes a belief in freedom. Of course, the precise content of that belief – and, indeed, the nature of deliberation – is controversial, with some philosophers claiming that deliberation commits us to a belief in libertarian free will (Taylor 1966; Ginet 1966), and others claiming that, on the contrary, deliberation presupposes nothing more than an epistemic openness that is (...) entirely compatible with determinism (Dennett 1984; Kapitan 1986). Since, however, the claim that deliberation presupposes freedom is accepted by all sides in the free will debate, it ought to be possible to frame a minimal version that is neutral between compatibilism and incompatibilism, and which therefore can be accepted by everyone. Peter van Inwagen has advanced the best-known such claim: ‘all philosophers who have thought about deliberation agree on one point: one cannot deliberate about whether to perform a certain act unless one believes it is possible for one to perform it’ (van Inwagen 1983: 154). It is the purpose of this paper to argue that van Inwagen, and the many philosophers who have followed him in this regard, is wrong. (shrink)
According to a common philosophical distinction, the `original' intentionality, or `aboutness' possessed by our thoughts, beliefs and desires, is categorically different from the `derived' intentionality manifested in some of our artifacts –- our words, books and pictures, for example. Those making the distinction claim that the intentionality of our artifacts is `parasitic' on the `genuine' intentionality to be found in members of the former class of things. In Kinds of Minds: Toward an Understanding of Consciousness, Daniel Dennett criticizes that claim (...) and the distinction it rests on, and seeks to show that ``metaphysically original intentionality'' is illusory by working out the implications he sees in the practical possibility of a certain type of robot, i.e., one that generates `utterances' which are `inscrutable to the robot's designers' so that we, and they, must consult the robot to discover the meaning of its utterances. I argue that the implications Dennett finds are erroneous, regardless of whether such a robot is possible, and therefore that the real existence of metaphysically original intentionality has not been undermined by the possibility of the robot Dennett describes. (shrink)
Libertarianism seems vulnerable to a serious problem concerning present luck, because it requires indeterminism somewhere in the causal chain leading to directly free action. Compatibilism, by contrast, is thought to be free of this problem, as not requiring indeterminism in the causal chain. I argue that this view is false: compatibilism is subject to a problem of present luck. This is less of a problem for compatibilism than for libertarianism. However, its effects are just as devastating for one kind of (...) compatibilism, the kind of compatibilism which is history-sensitive, and therefore must take the problem of constitutive luck seriously. The problem of present luck confronting compatibilism is sufficient to undermine the history-sensitive compatibilist's response to remote – constitutive – luck. (shrink)
This paper argues that the accelerating pace of life is reducing the time for thoughtful reflection, and in particular for contemplative scholarship, within the academy. It notes that the loss of time to think is occurring at exactly the moment when scholars, educators, and students have gained access to digital tools of great value to scholarship. It goes on to explore how and why both of these facts might be true, what it says about the nature of scholarship, and what (...) might be done to address this state of affairs. (shrink)