The dominant argument for the introduction of propensities or chances as an interpretation of probability depends on the difficulty of accounting for single case probabilities. We argue that in almost all cases, the "single case" application of probability can be accounted for otherwise. "Propensities" are needed only in theoretical contexts, and even there applications of probability need only depend on propensities indirectly.
Hartry Field has suggested that we should adopt at least a methodological deflationism: "[W]e should assume full-fledged deflationism as a working hypothesis. That way, if full-fledged deflationism should turn out to be inadequate, we will at least have a clearer sense than we now have of just where it is that inflationist assumptions... are needed". I argue here that we do not need to be methodological deflationists. More precisely, I argue that we have no need for a disquotational truth-predicate; that (...) the word 'true', in ordinary language, is not a disquotational truth-predicate; and that it is not at all clear that it is even possible to introduce a disquotational truth-predicate into ordinary language. If so, then we have no clear sense how it is even possible to be a methodological deflationist. My goal here is not to convince a committed deflationist to abandon his or her position. My goal, rather, is to argue, contrary to what many seem to think, that reflection on the apparently trivial character of T-sentences should not incline us to deflationism. (shrink)
Skeptics try to persuade us of our ignorance with arguments like the following: 1. I don't know that I am not a handless brain-in-a-vat [BIV]. 2. If I don't know that I am not a handless BIV, then I don't know that I have hands. Therefore, 3. I don't know that I have hands. The BIV argument is valid, its premises are intuitively compelling, and yet, its conclusion strikes us as a absurd. Something has to go, but what? Contextualists contend (...) that an adequate solution to the skeptical problem must: (i) retain epistemic closure, (ii) explain the intuitive force of skeptical arguments by explaining why their premises initially seem so compelling, and (iii) account for the truth of our commonsense judgment that we do possess lots of ordinary knowledge. Contextualists maintain that the key to such a solution is recognizing that the semantic standards for 'knows' vary from context to context such that in skeptical contexts the skeptic's premises are true and so is her conclusion; but in ordinary contexts, her conclusion is false and so is her first premise. Despite its initial attractiveness, the contextualist solution comes at a significant cost, for contextualism has many counterintuitive results. After presenting the contextualist solution, I identify a number of these costs. I then offer a noncontextualist solution that meets the adequacy constraint identified above, while avoiding the costs associated with contextualism. Hence, one of the principal reasons offered for adopting a contextualist theory of knowledge -- its supposedly unique ability to adequately resolve the skeptical problem -- is undermined. (shrink)
Bishop Butler, [Butler, 1736], said that probability was the very guide of life. But what interpretations of probability can serve this function? It isn't hard to see that empirical (frequency) views won't do, and many recent writers—for example John Earman, who has said that Bayesianism is "the only game in town"—have been persuaded by various dutch book arguments that only subjective probability will perform the function required. We will defend the thesis that probability construed in this way offers very little (...) guidance, dutch book arguments notwithstanding. We will sketch a way out of the impasse. (shrink)
Lucius T. Outlaw, Jr., is steadfastly dedicated to universal human liberation. The partisan interest of African Americans can be, for Outlaw, coterminous with universal human interest, including such interests as the promotion of respect and justice. Humanity has an interest in cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity for Outlaw because they enrich our lives and enhance the chances of survivability for the human species. All people, he argues, should be free from oppression, exploitation, and prejudice. Outlaw (...) provides ample autobiographical information about how his theories developed and how he has lived his personal life, his political life, and his educational life…. (shrink)
The essay is a reflective reconstruction of encounters with persons, writings, and discursive communities involved with “critical social theory” across a decades-long quest for a comprehensive synchronic and diachronic understanding of significant aspects of the social whole of the United States of America, in particular, which understanding was to be the resource for guiding efforts in “emancipatory social transformation”: the overcoming of impediments to the enjoyment by Black people of flourishing lives without invidious racial discrimination and economic exploitation.
On Race and Philosophy is a collection of essays written and published across the last twenty years, which focus on matters of race, philosophy, and social and political life in the West, in particular in the US. These important writings trace the author's continuing efforts not only to confront racism, especially within philosophy, but, more importantly, to work out viable conceptions of raciality and ethnicity that are empirically sound while avoiding chauvinism and invidious ethnocentrism. The hope is that such conceptions (...) will assist efforts to fashion a nation-state in which racial and ethnic cultures and identities are recognized and nurtured contributions to a more just and stable democracy. (shrink)
The life sciences are increasingly being called on to produce “socially robust” knowledge that honors the social contract between science and society. This has resulted in the emergence of a number of “broad social issues” that reflect the ethical tensions in these social contracts. These issues are framed in a variety of ways around the world, evidenced by differences in regulations addressing them. It is important to question whether these variations are simply regulatory variations or in fact reflect a contextual (...) approach to ethics that brings into question the existence of a system of “global scientific ethics”. Nonetheless, within ethics education for scientists these broad social issues are often presented using this scheme of global ethics due to legacies of science ethics pedagogy. This paper suggests this may present barriers to fostering international discourse between communities of scientists, and may cause difficulties in harmonizing (and transporting) national regulations for the governance of these issues. Reinterpreting these variations according to how the content of ethical principles is attributed by communities is proposed as crucial for developing a robust international discourse. To illustrate this, the paper offers some empirical fieldwork data that considers how the concept of dual-use (as a broad social issue) was discussed within African and UK laboratories. Demonstrating that African scientists reshaped the concept of dual-use according to their own research environmental pressures and ascribed alternative content to the principles that underpin it, suggests that the limitations of a “global scientific ethics” system for these issues cannot be ignored. (shrink)
Edited by Marthe Chandler and Ronnie Littlejohn, this work is a collection of expository and critical essays on the work of Henry Rosemont, Jr., a prominent and influential contemporary philosopher, activist, translator, and educator in the field of Asian and Comparative Philosophy. The essays in this collection take up three major themes in Rosemont's work: his work in Chinese linguistics, his contribution to the theory of human rights, and his interest in East Asian religion. Contributions include works by the leading (...) scholars in Chinese philosophy in the Western world and Rosemont's close associates: Roger T. Ames, Bao Zhiming, Mary Bockover, Marthe Chandler, Ewing Y. Chinn, Erin M. Cline, Fred Dallmayr, Jeffrey Dippmann, Herbert Fingarette, Harrison Huang, Eric Hutton, Philip J. Ivanhoe, David Jones, William La Fleur, Ronnie Littlejohn, Ni Peimin, Michael Nylan, Harold Roth, Sumner Twiss, Tu Weiming, David Wong, with responses from Henry Rosemont, Jr. and a brief Reminiscence by Noam Chomsky. (shrink)
Introduction There is an enormous amount of confusion about what relativism is. In this paper I aim to take a step toward clarifying what it is by discussing some things that it is not — that is, by distinguishing it from some other views with which it is often confused or conflated, such as nihilism and scepticism. I do this primarily because I think that the question of the character of relativism is interesting in itself. A clearer characterization of relativism (...) would also be important instrumentally, however, as before we can accurately assess relativism we must have a clear idea of what it is. The secondary aim of this paper, then, is to function as a prolegomenon to an assessment of relativism. The tertiary aim of the paper is to make a few observations about the view which most clearly stands opposed to relativism, the view which I will call ‘objectivism.’ Because relativism is often confused with views like fallibilism and pluralism, objectivism often finds itself unjustly associated with views like infallibilism and political authoritarianism. (If this paper had a subtitle, it would be: ‘And What Objectivism Isn't.’) Although it is not the point of this paper to criticize relativism, I should make it clear that it began as a part of an anti-relativistic project, and, although anti-relativism is not necessarily objectivism, I should perhaps make it clear that I am more than a little sympathetic to the latter type of view. (shrink)
We present the opinion of some authors who believe there is no force between a stationary charge and a stationary resistive wire carrying a constant current. We show that this force is different from zero and present its main components: the force due to the charges induced in the wire by the test charge and a force proportional to the current in the resistive wire. We also discuss briefly a component of the force proportional to the square of the current (...) which should exist according to some models and another component due to the acceleration of the conduction electrons in a curved wire carrying a dc current (centripetal acceleration). Finally, we analyze experiments showing the existence of the electric field proportional to the current in resistive wires. (shrink)
Codes are a well known and popular but weak form of ethical regulation in medical practice. There is, however, a lack of research on the relations between moral judgments and ethical Codes, or on the possibility of morally justifying these Codes. Our analysis begins by showing, given the Nuremberg Code, how a typical reference to natural law has historically served as moral justification. We then indicate, following the analyses of H. T. Engelhardt, Jr., and A. MacIntyre, why such general moral (...) justifications of codes must necessarily fail in a society of ââmoral strangersâ Going beyond Engelhardt we argue, that after the genealogical suspicion in morals raised by Nietzsche, not even Engelhardt's "principle of permission" can be rationally justified in a strong sense â a problem of transcendental argumentation in morals already realized by I. Kant. Therefore, we propose to abandon the project of providing general justifications for moral judgements and to replace it with a hermeneutical analysis of ethical meanings in real-world situations, starting with the archetypal ethical situation, the encounter with the Other (E. Levinas). (shrink)
The earliest Analects yet discovered, this work provides us with a new perspective on the central canonical text that has defined Chinese culture--and clearly illuminates the spirit and values of Confucius.
Vagueness is an extremely widespread feature of language, famously associated with the sorites paradox. One instance of this paradox concludes that a single grain of sand is a heap of sand, by starting with a large heap of sand and invoking the plausible premise that if you take one grain of sand away from a heap of sand, then you still have a heap. The supervaluationist theory of vagueness states that a sentence is true if and only if it is (...) true on all ways of making it precise. This yields borderline case predications that are neither true nor false, but yet classical logic is preserved almost entirely. The sorites paradox is solved because the main premise comes out false – on each way of making 'heap' precise, there is some first grain that turns a heap into a non-heap – but there is no sharp boundary to 'heap' because it is a different grain on different ways of making 'heap' precise; so, there is no grain of which it is true to say it is that first grain. The theory has a range of merits in comparison with rival theories, such as the epistemic view or degree theories of vagueness. Objections have been made (and answers offered) in relation to its treatment of higher-order vagueness and what it says about truth and validity. Author Recommends Fine, Kit. 'Vagueness, Truth and Logic.' Synthese 30 (1975). 265–300. Reprinted in Keefe and Smith 1997. This is the classic text introducing supervaluationism as a treatment of vagueness. It provides both philosophical discussion and formal modelling, demonstrating the adherence to classical logic that the theory yields. Keefe, Rosanna and Peter Smith, eds. Vagueness: A Reader . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. This collection includes many classic papers on vagueness, including Fine's paper, cited above, a paper by Dummett that offers (but rejects) a precursor of the supervaluationist view, another less well-known early presentation of the view by Henyrk Mehlberg and discussion and defences of the main rival theories of vagueness. Keefe, Rosanna. Theories of Vagueness . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. This book defends a supervaluationist theory of vagueness. It discusses the phenomena of vagueness and what is required of a theory of vagueness, before considering and rejecting the major alternatives in turn. Williamson, Timothy. Vagueness . London: Routledge, 1994. This book defends the epistemic theory of vagueness, which maintains that vague predicates do have sharp boundaries, we just do not know where those boundaries lie. It also contains detailed discussions of opposing theories, including supervaluationism. Unger, Peter. 'The Problem of the Many.' Midwest Studies in Philosophy 5 (1980). Eds. P.A. French, T.E. Uehling Jr and H.K. Wettstein. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. This is the classic presentation of the Problem of the Many, to which a supervaluationist solution is relatively popular. This problem arises because frequently the boundaries of an object – say a cloud – are not sharply delineated. Each of the many ways of drawing the boundary seems to be an object of the type in question – say a cloud – hence the problem that there are many things when there should be just one. The supervaluationist, it seems, can say that there is just one cloud because that is true on each precisification. Williams, J. Robert G. 'An Argument for the Many.' Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106 (2006). 409–17. Detailed discussion of Unger's Problem of the Many, especially in relation to the supervaluationist solution. Shapiro, Stewart. Vagueness in Context . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. In this book, Shapiro employs a supervaluationist framework, without endorsing some of the central claims of the standard supervaluationist theory of vagueness. Online Materials http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/vagueness/ http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/sorites-paradox/ http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/problem-of-many/ http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~arche/projects/vagueness/bibliography.shtml Sample Syllabus Week I: Introduction to Vagueness Keefe, Theories of Vagueness (especially chapters 1 and 2) Williamson, Vagueness (especially chapters 1 and 2) Week II: Supervaluationist Theory: logic and semantics Keefe, 'Vagueness: Supervaluationism.' Philosophy Compass 3.2 (2008): 315–24, 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2008.00124.x Fine, 'Vagueness, Truth and Logic' Keefe, Theories of Vagueness (especially chapter 7) Week III: Higher Order Vagueness and the D Operator Keefe, Theories of Vagueness (especially chapter 8) Fara, Delia Graff. 'Gap Principles, Penumbral Consequence and Infinitely Higher-Order Vagueness.' Liars and Heaps . Ed. J.C. Beall. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. 195–221. Originally published under the name 'Delia Graff'. Week IV: Truth and Validity Keefe, Theories of Vagueness (especially chapter 8) Keefe, 'Supervaluationism and Validity.' Philosophical Topics 28 (2000). 93–105. Cobreros, 'Supervaluations and Logical Consequence: Retrieving the Local Perspective.' Studia Logica , Special Issue on Vagueness , 2009 Week V: Problem of the Many Unger, "The Problem of the Many" Williams, "An Argument for the Many" Week VI: Rival Theories Williamson, Vagueness (especially chapters 7 and 8) Keefe and Smith, Vagueness: A Reader (e.g. chapters 11, 14–6) Focus Questions 1 How important is it for a theory of vagueness to accommodate penumbral connections? Are there any putative penumbral connections that the supervaluationist cannot accommodate? 2 According to supervaluationism, what does it take for "Katie said that Hannah is tall" to be true? Does the view have implausible consequences for indirect speech reports when vague terms are used? 3 Is higher-order vagueness a problem for supervaluationism? 4 Is there more than one viable option for the account of validity in a supervaluationist framework? 5 Can a supervaluationist account of vagueness accommodate the full extent of context dependence exhibited in the use of vague predicates? (shrink)
The concept of randomness has been unjustly neglected in recent philosophical literature, and when philosophers have thought about it, they have usually acquiesced in views about the concept that are fundamentally flawed. After indicating the ways in which these accounts are flawed, I propose that randomness is to be understood as a special case of the epistemic concept of the unpredictability of a process. This proposal arguably captures the intuitive desiderata for the concept of randomness; at least it should suggest (...) that the commonly accepted accounts cannot be the whole story and more philosophical attention needs to be paid. Randomness in science1.1 Random systems1.2 Random behaviour1.3 Random sampling1.4 Caprice, arbitrariness and noiseConcepts of randomness2.1 Von Mises/Church/Martin-Löf randomness2.2 KCS-randomnessRandomness is unpredictability: preliminaries3.1 Process and product randomness3.2 Randomness is indeterminism?Predictability4.1 Epistemic constraints on prediction4.2 Computational constraints on prediction4.3 Pragmatic constraints on prediction4.4 Prediction definedUnpredictabilityRandomness is unpredictability6.1 Clarification of the definition of randomness6.2 Randomness and probability6.3 Subjectivity and context sensitivity of randomnessEvaluating the analysis[R]andomness … is going to be a concept which is relative to our body of knowledge, which will somehow reflect what we know and what we don't know. Henry E. Kyburg, Jr (, p. 217)Phenomena that we cannot predict must be judged random. Patrick Suppes (, p. 32). (shrink)
Existence in Black is the first collective statement on the subject of Africana Philosophy of Existence. Drawing upon resources in Africana philosophy and literature, the contributors explore some of the central themes of Existentialism as posed by the context of what Frantz Fanon has identified as "the lived-experience of the black." Among questions posed and explored in the volume are: What is to be done in a world of near universal sense of superiority to, if not universal hatred of, black (...) folk?; What is black suffering?; What is the meaning (if any) of black existence? The introduction argues that a response to these questions requires a journey through the resources of identity questions in critical race theory and the teleological dimensions of liberation theory. The contributors address these questions through an analysis of nearly every dimension of Africana phiosophy. In the first half of the book, they address Black Philosophies of Existence in terms of Traditional African Philosophy, the Harlem Renaissance, Du Boisian Double-Consciousness, and Fanonian and Sartrean Philosophies of Existence. In the second half of the book, contributors consider racial identity through examinations of such concepts as equality, death, mimesis, property, embodiment, technology, disappointment, and dread. Part II is an exploration of postmodern challenges to "black existence" through discussions of postmodern conservatism, Nietzsche's thoughts on blacks, Richard Wright and fragmented consciousness, and feminist critiques of race. And Part IV is an examination of problems of historical responsibility and constructing black liberation theories. Contributors are: Ernest Allen, Jr., Robert Birt, Bernard Boxill, George Carew, Bobby Dixon, G.M. James Gonzales, Lewis R. Gordon, Leonard Harris, Floyd Hayes, III, Paget Henry, Patricia Huntington, Joy Ann James, Clarence Shole Johnson, Bill E. Lawson, Howard McGary, Roy D. Morrison, William Preston, Jean-Paul Sartre, T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Gary Schwartz, Robert Westley, and Naomi Zack. (shrink)
Africana Philosophy is a gathering notion used to cover collectively particular articulations, and traditions of particular articulations, of persons African and African-descended that are to be regarded as instances of philosophizing. (The notion is meant to cover, as well, the philosophizing efforts of persons not African or African-descended, efforts that are, nonetheless, contributions to the philosophizing endeavors that constitute Africana philosophy.) A central concern of the essay is the question whether there are characteristics of the philosophizing practices of persons identified (...) as members of social groups thought to comprise a geographically and historically dispersed and ethnically diverse race that do, or should, distinguish the practices by virtue of being those of persons African and/or African-descended. Is there, can there be, should there be a properly determined field of philosophy that is constituted, first and foremost, by the efforts of persons of a particular race and its ethnic groups? (shrink)
A special issue of The Philosophical Forum , one of the most prestigious philosophy journals, is now available to a wider readership through its publication in book form. The volume includes twelve essays in three sections-- Philosophical Traditions; the African-American Tradition; and Racism, Identity, and Social Life. Contributors are: K. Anthony Appiah, Kwasi Wiredu, LuciusOutlaw, Leonard Harris, Bernard Boxill, Frank M. Kirkland, Tommy L. Lott, Adrian M.S. Piper, Laurence Thomas, Michele M. Moody-Adams, Anita L. Allen, and Howard (...) McGary. The introduction is by John P. Pittman. (shrink)
rimary Works -/- Descartes, Rene, (1997) Meditations on the First Philosophy, from Philosophical Classics from Plato to Nietzsche, Ed. By Forrest E. Baired & Walter Kaufmann, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. -/- ______________ (1972) “The Principles of Philosophy”, from Masterworks of Philosophy, Vol.I, Ed. by S.E. Frost Jr., McGraw Hill Book Company. -/- ______________ (1958)”The Passions of the Soul”, from Descartes Philosophical Writings, Trans.& Selected by Norman Kemp Smith, The Modern Library, New York. -/- _____________ (1927)”The Passions of (...) the Soul”, from Descartes Selections, Edi. by Charles Scribner’s Sons, United States. -/- ____________ (2006)” Meditations on the First Philosophy”, The Radical Academy, 2006.Link:http;//www.earlymoderntexts.com/pdf/desmed.pdf ,Citation:20-10-2006 -/- _____________(2006)”Discourse on the Method“, The Radical Academy, 2006.Link:http;//www.earlymoderntexts.com/pdf/desdisc.pdf ,Citation:20-10-2006 -/- ______________:”Objections to Descartes’s Meditations, and His Replies“, The Radical Academy, 2006.Link:http;//www.earlymoderntexts.com/pdf/descor.pdf ,Citation:20-10-2006 -/- Anscomb,E.& Geach,P.T. (1966) Descartes Philosophical Writings, (Edi.& Trans.) The Nelson and Sons Ltd., London. (shrink)