A longitudinal study of 308 white-collar U.S. employees revealed that feelings of hope and gratitude increase concern for corporate social responsibility (CSR). In particular, employees with stronger hope and gratitude were found to have a greater sense of responsibility toward employee and societal issues; interestingly, employee hope and gratitude did not affect sense of responsibility toward economic and safety/quality issues. These findings offer an extension of research by Giacalone, Paul, and Jurkiewicz (2005, Journal of Business Ethics, 58, 295-305).
. Undoubtedly, multinational corporations must play a significant role in the advancement of global ecological ethics. Our research offers a glimpse into the process of how goals of ecological sustainability in one multinational corporation can trickle down through the organization via the sustainability support behaviors of supervisors. We asked the question “How do supervisors in a multinational corporation internalize their corporation’s commitment to ecological sustainability and, in turn, behave in ways that convey this commitment to their subordinates?” In response, we (...) created a theoretical framework for supervisor sustainability support behavior based on Stern et al., Human Ecology Review 6(2), 81-97 (1999) value-belief-norm (VBN) theory. We then tested our framework by performing a survey-based field study of supervisors in a multinational pharmaceutical company that has publicly professed a goal of ecological sustainability. (shrink)
Reciprocity is a fundamental aspect of social life, and a phenomenon studied from a wide variety of philosophical, theological, and social scientific perspectives. In this study, we use social exchange theory to investigate why employees help other employees. We hypothesize, based on the norm of reciprocity (Gouldner, 1960), that a significant cause of an employee''s helping behavior is how much organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) the employee has received from coworkers. To provide evidence of the discriminant validity of OCB received as (...) an antecedent of helping behavior, we also assess its effects on another form of extra-role behavior, voice, as well as in-role performance. We found, in a sample of 157 employee-supervisor dyads, that OCB received was related to helping behavior after controlling for several antecedents of helping behavior identified in past research, and was less related to voice and in-role behavior, as hypothesized. Implications for theory and practice are presented. (shrink)
Timothy Michael Fowler has argued that, as a consequence of their commitment to neutrality in regard to comprehensive doctrines, political liberals face a dilemma. In essence, the dilemma for political liberals is that either they have to give up their commitment to neutrality (which is an indispensible part of their view), or they have to allow harm to children. Fowler’s case for this dilemma depends on ascribing to political liberals a view which grants parents a great degree of freedom in (...) deciding on the education of their children. I show that ascribing this view to political liberals rests upon a misinterpretation of political liberalism. Since political liberals have access to reasons based upon the interests of children, they need not yield to parent’s wishes about the education of their children. A correct understanding of political liberalism thus shows that political liberals do not face the dilemma envisaged by Fowler. (shrink)
This article contributes to the current debate on human embryonic stem cell researchers’ possible complicity in the destruction of human embryos and the relevance of such complicity for the issue of commodification of human embryos. I will discuss if, and to what extent, researchers who destroy human embryos, and researchers who merely use human embryos destroyed by others, have moral use rights, and/or moral property rights, in these embryos. I argue that the moral status of the human embryo, however justified, (...) places few restrictions on the latter researchers’ use of it, and property rights in it, once it is destroyed. I argue that the former researchers have no property rights in the destroyed embryo but use rights in it to the extent allowed by the legitimate owners of the destroyed embryo. I discuss the implications of this account for previous and current US federal law regulating human embryonic stem cell research. (shrink)
Human knowledge is a phenomenon whose roots extend from the cultural, through the neural and the biological and finally all the way down into the Precambrian “primordial soup.” The present paper reports an attempt at understanding this Greater System of Knowledge (GSK) as a hierarchical nested set of selection processes acting concurrently on several different scales of time and space. To this end, a general selection theory extending mainly from the work of Hull and Campbell is introduced. The perhaps most (...) drastic change from previous similar theories is that replication is revealed as a composite function consisting of what is referred to as memory and synthesis. This move is argued to drastically improve the fit between theory and human-related knowledge systems. The introduced theory is then used to interpret the subsystems of the GSK and their interrelations. This is done to the end of demonstrating some of the new perspectives offered by this view. (shrink)
Recent global advances in available technology to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission necessitate a rethinking of contemporary and previous ethical debates on HIV testing as a means to preventing vertical transmission. In this paper, we will provide an ethical analysis of HIV-testing strategies of pregnant women. First, we argue that provider-initiated opt-out HIV testing seems to be the most effective HIV test strategy. The flip-side of an opt-out strategy is that it may end up as involuntary testing in a clinical setting. (...) We analyse this ethical puzzle from a novel perspective, taking into account the moral importance of certain hypothetical preferences of the child, as well as the moral importance of certain actual preferences of the mother. Finally, we balance the conflicting concerns and try to arrive at an ethically sound solution to this dilemma. Our aim is to introduce a novel perspective from which to analyse testing strategies, and to explore the implications and possible benefits of our proposal. The conclusion from our analysis is that policies that recommend provider-initiated opt-out HIV testing of pregnant mothers, with a risk of becoming involuntary testing in a clinical setting, are acceptable. The rationale behind this is that the increased availability of very effective and inexpensive life-saving drugs makes the ethical problems raised by the possible intrusiveness of HIV testing less important than the child's hypothetical preferences to be born healthy. Health care providers, therefore, have a duty to offer both opt-out HIV testing and available PMTCT (preventing mother-to-child transmission) interventions. (shrink)
Abstract During the Copernican revolution the supporters of the Ptolemaic theory argued that the tower experiment refuted the Copernican hypothesis of the (diurnal) motion of the earth, but was in agreement with the Ptolemaic theory. In his defence of the Copernican theory Galileo argued that the experiment was in agreement both with Copernican and Ptolemaic theory. The reason for these different views of the same experiment was not that the two theories were incommensurable, as Paul Feyerabend argues, but that Galileo (...) introduced a new theory of motion which he used as an auxiliary hypothesis in his discussion of the tower experiment, while those defending the Ptolemaic theory used the old Aristotelian theory of motion. Already before the Copernican revolution the Aristotelian theory of motion was criticized by philosophers in Paris, who suggested the impetus theory of motion. The later versions of this theory had the consequence that the tower experiment no longer refuted the hypothesis of the (diurnal) motion of the earth. Thus the impetus theory removed an old and important objection to the heliocentric theory. Galileo's inertial dynamics had the same function in the discussion of the tower experiment. (shrink)
We argue four points. First, perception always relies on environmental constraints, not only in special cases. Second, constraints are taken advantage of by detecting information granted by the constraints rather than by internalizing them. Third, apparent motion phenomena reveal reliance on constraints that are irrelevant in everyday perception. Fourth, constraints are selected through individual learning as well as evolution. The “perceptual-concept-of-velocity” phenomenon is featured as a relevant case. [Hecht; Kubovy & Epstein; Shepard].
The present paper introduces "ontomimetic simulation" and argues that this class of models has enabled the investigation of hypotheses about complex systems in new ways that have epistemological relevance. Ontomimetic simulation can be differentiated from other types of modeling by its reliance on causal similarity in addition to representation. Phenomena are modeled not directly but via mimesis of the ontology (i.e. the "underlying physics", microlevel etc.) of systems and a subsequent animation of the resulting model ontology as a dynamical system. (...) While the ontology is clearly used for computing system states, what is epistemologically important is that it is viewed as a hypothesis about the makeup of the studied system. This type of simulation, where model ontologies are used as hypotheses, is here called inverse ontomimetic simulation since it reverses the typical informational path from the target to the model system. It links experimental and analytical techniques in being explicitly dynamical while at the same time capable of abstraction. Inverse ontomimetic simulation is argued to have a great impact on science and to be the tool for hypothesis-testing that has made systematic theory development for complex systems possible. (shrink)
High-spin states in the odd-odd N = Z nucleus Co-54 have been investigated by the fusion-evaporation reaction Si-28(S-32,1 alpha 1p1n)Co-54. Gamma-ray information gathered with the Ge detector array Gammasphere was correlated with evaporated particles detected in the charged particle detector system Microball and a 1 pi neutron detector array. A significantly extended excitation scheme of Co-54 is presented, which includes a candidate for the isospin T = 1, 6(+) state of the 1f(7/2)(-2) multiplet. The results are compared to large-scale shell-model (...) calculations in the fp shell. Effective interactions with and without isospin-breaking terms have been used to probe isospin symmetry and isospin mixing. A quest for deformed high-spin rotational cascades proved negative. This feature is discussed by means of cranking calculations. (shrink)
The shapes of neurons and glial cells dictate many important aspects of their functions. In olfactory systems, certain architectural features are characteristics of these two cell types across a wide variety of species. The accumulated evidence suggests that these common features may play fundamental roles in olfactoryinformation processing. For instance, the primary olfactory neuropil in most vertebrate and invertebrate olfactory systems is organized into discrete modules called glomeruli. Inside each glomerulus, sensory axons and CNS neurons branch and synapse in patterns (...) that are repeated across species. In many species, moreover, the glomeruli are enveloped by a thin and ordered layer of glial processes. Theglomerular arrangement reflects the processing of odor information in modules that encode the discrete molecular attributes of odorant stimuli being processed. Recent studies of the mechanisms that guide the development of olfactory neurons and glial cells have revealed complex reciprocal interactions between these two cell types, which may be necessary for the establishment of modular compartments. Collectively, the findings reviewed here suggest that specialized cellular architecture plays key functional roles in the detection, analysis, and discrimination of odors at early steps in olfactory processing. (shrink)
Lynne Rudder Baker and many others think that paradigmatic instances of one object constituting another — a piece of marble constituting a statue, or an aggregate of particles constituting a living body — involve two distinct (i.e., not numerically identical) objects in the same place at the same time.1 Some who say this believe in the doctrine of temporal parts2; but others, like Baker, reject this doctrine.3 Such philosophers, whom one might call “coincidentalists”, cannot say that these objects manage (...) to share space in virtue of sharing a temporal part confined to just that place and time. But what can or should coincidentalists say about the nature of constitution? (shrink)
During the past couple of decades, philosophy of mind--with its siblings, philosophy of psychology and cognitive science--has been one of the most exciting areas of philosophy. Yet, in that time, I have come to think that there is a deep flaw in the basic conception of its object of study--a deep flaw in its conception of the so-called propositional attitudes, like belief, desire, and intention. Taking belief as the fundamental propositional attitude, scientifically-minded philosophers hold that beliefs, if there are any, (...) are brain states. I call this conception of belief. (shrink)
In her recent book Persons and Bodies1, Lynne Rudder Baker has defended what she calls the constitution view of persons. On this view, persons are constituted by their bodies, where “constitution” is a ubiquitous, general metaphysical relation distinct from more familiar relations, such as identity and part-whole composition.
This paper starts from the debate between proponents of a neo-Lockean psychological continuity view of personal identity, and defenders of the idea that we are simple mental substances. Each party has valid criticisms of the other; the impasse in the debate is traced to the Lockean assumption that substance is only externally related to its attributes. This suggests the possibility that we could develop a better account of mental substance if we thought of it as having an internal relation to (...) its states. I suggest that we may be able to do this by relying on the notion of expression. In developing this idea I draw heavily on aspects of Wittgenstein's philosophical psychology, while also developing and criticizing Strawson's account of persons and recent work by Lynne Baker. I conclude by arguing that mental substance, understood in this way, can only be grasped in narrative terms; substantialist and narrative accounts of personal identity, far from being opposed, are mutually supporting and require one another to be coherent. (shrink)
In "Was I Ever a Fetus?" I argued that, since each of us was once an unthinking fetus, psychological continuity cannot be necessary for us to persist through time. Baker claims that the argument is invalid, and that both the premise and the conclusion are false. I attempt to defend argument, premise, and conclusion against her objections.
Locke’s view that continuants are numerically distinct from their constituting hunks of matter is popular enough to be called the “standard account”.1 It was given its definitive contemporary statement by David Wiggins in Sameness and Substance2, and has been defended by many since. Baker’s interesting book contributes new arguments for this view, a new definition of ‘constitution’, and a sustained application to persons and human animals. Much of what she says develops this view in new and important ways. But in (...) some cases she does not advance the position, and in others she takes steps backwards. According to Baker, a person is numerically distinct from her constituting animal. One of Baker’s leading arguments is surprisingly unconvincing. Persons differ in important ways from non-human animals. Only persons are moral agents, modify their goals, have wars, culture, etc. If persons were identical to animals—if we were “nothing but animals”, as she puts it—then the manifest discontinuity between humans and non-human animals would be located “within the domain of biology”. “But from a biological point of view, human animals…are biologically continuous with non-human animals.” (p. 17) The argument fails: why should identifying persons with animals preclude saying that these particular animals have radically distinctive features that are of little interest to biologists? The traditional case for non-identity (which Baker accepts) is more powerful: a person and her constituting animal differ by having different persistence conditions. If my memories were transferred to a new body and my old body destroyed, I the person might survive, but the human animal who constituted me would perish. Therefore, before the transfer, I and the animal that constituted me would be numerically distinct but extremely similar things located in exactly the same place. This consequence—the central thesis of the Wiggins view—is surprising: so surprising that some reject the Wiggins view on that basis.. (shrink)
Each person is perceived by others and by herself as an individual in a very strong sense, namely as a unique individual. Moreover, this supposed uniqueness is commonly thought of as linked with another character that we tend to attribute to persons (as opposed to stones or chairs and even non-human animals): a kind of depth, hidden to sensory perception, yet in some measure accessible to other means of knowledge. I propose a theory of strong or essential individuality. This theory (...) is introduced by way of a critical discussion of Van Inwagen’s and Baker’s ontologies of persons. Composition Theory and Constitution Theory are shown to be complementary, in their opposite strong and weak points. I argue that both theories have unsatisfactory consequences concerning personal identity, a problem which the proposed theory seems to solve more faithfully both to folk intuitions and the phenomenology of personal life. (shrink)
The topics that I shall consider are these: (1) Causal Explanatoriness of the Attitudes (Dretske, Elugardo); (2) The “Brain-Explain” Thesis and Metaphysical Constraints on Explanation (Antony, Elugardo); (3) Causal Powers of Beliefs (Meyering); (4) Microreduction (Beckermann); (5) Non-Emergent, Non-Reductive Materialism (Antony); (6) The Master Argument Against the Standard View (Dretske, Antony, Elugardo); (7) Practical Realism Extended (Meijers); (8) Alternative to Both the Standard View and Practical Realism (Newen).
Traditionally, constitutionalists have offered just one notion of constitution to analyse the relation that an object, such as a statue or a chain, bears to the object/s from which it is made: let us say, a piece of marble in the first case or a piece of metal in the second. Robert Wilson proposes to differentiate two notions of constitution and, in this way, to offer constitutionalists a more varied range of metaphysical tools. To justify the introduction of the difference, (...) he presents several phenomena and problems, the explanation of which would justify the distinction he makes. In this paper I argue that Wilson’s proposal would not increase the explanatory power of a theory of constitution as it has traditionally been understood, only its complexity. Increasing the complexity without increasing the explanatory power of a theory, I defend, goes against one, at least prima facie, basic theoretical virtue: parsimony. In my argumentation I crucially use, for the case of Wilson’s first three arguments, the existence of principles of existence−persistence, which constitutionalists, Wilson among them, usually accept. In arguing against Wilson’s fourth argument I use a slightly modified version of Lynne Rudder Baker’s theory of constitution. (shrink)
Maybe they have been made, but I missed them because I don’t read and listen enough, as most of my energies are focused elsewhere. Apologies if this is all old hat. Don’t feel you have to read on. In case others are interested, I shall put this on my web site at http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/˜axs/gov/ My main point is that it is just silly to talk so much about universities and top-up fees without putting universities in the context of a complete policy (...) on post-school education. What I am offering is not a detailed policy, but a framework for thinking about the problem. Perhaps someone has already done this but I have never heard it mentioned in any of the public debates. I suspect that’s because this top-up fees issue is not part of a coherent policy but just a sort of religious commitment to a “new way”, like other things done by this government. I start with some comments on the fees issue, then go on to talk about how to think about post-school education, distinguishing several categories that need to be separated and funded differently as part of a joined-up system. (shrink)
This book explores how some word meanings are paradigmatically related to each other, for example, as opposites or synonyms, and how they relate to the mental organization of our vocabularies. Traditional approaches claim that such relationships are part of our lexical knowledge (our "dictionary" of mentally stored words) but Lynne Murphy argues that lexical relationships actually constitute our "metalinguistic" knowledge. The book draws on a century of previous research, including word association experiments, child language, and the use of synonyms (...) and antonyms in text. (shrink)
What is a human person, and what is the relation between a person and his or her body? In her third book on the philosophy of mind, Lynne Rudder Baker investigates what she terms the person/body problem and offers a detailed account of the relation between human persons and their bodies. Baker's argument is based on the 'Constitution View' of persons and bodies, which aims to show what distinguishes persons from all other beings and to show how we can (...) be fully material beings without being identical to our bodies. The Constitution View yields answers to the questions 'What am I most fundamentally?', 'What is a person?', and 'What is the relation between human persons and their bodies'? Baker argues that the complex mental property of first-person perspective enables one to conceive of one's body and mental states as one's own. (shrink)
Lynne Rudder Baker presents and defends a unique account of the material world: the Constitution View. In contrast to leading metaphysical views that take everyday things to be either non-existent or reducible to micro-objects, the Constitution View construes familiar things as irreducible parts of reality. Although they are ultimately constituted by microphysical particles, everyday objects are neither identical to, nor reducible to, the aggregates of microphysical particles that constitute them. The result is genuine ontological diversity: people, bacteria, donkeys, mountains (...) and microscopes are fundamentally different kinds of things - all constituted by, but not identical to, aggregates of particles. Baker supports her account with discussions of non-reductive causation, vagueness, mereology, artifacts, three-dimensionalism, ontological novelty, ontological levels and emergence. The upshot is a unified ontological theory of the entire material world that irreducibly contains people, as well as non-human living things and inanimate objects. (shrink)
The paper presents, motivates, critiques, and proposes revisions to Baker’s Constitution View, which includes her definitions of constitution, derivative features, and numerical sameness. The paper argues that Baker should add a mereological clause to her definition of constitution in order to avoid various counterexamples.
Explaining Attitudes offers a timely and important challenge to the dominant conception of belief found in the work of such philosophers as Dretske and Fodor. According to this dominant view beliefs, if they exist at all, are constituted by states of the brain. Lynne Rudder Baker rejects this view and replaces it with a quite different approach - practical realism. Seen from the perspective of practical realism, any argument that interprets beliefs as either brain states or states of immaterial (...) souls is a 'non-starter'. Practical realism takes beliefs to be states of the whole persons, rather like states of health. What a person believes is determined by what a person would do, say and think in various circumstances. Thus beliefs and other attitudes are interwoven into an integrated, commonsensical conception of reality. (shrink)
Are dual relationships always detrimental? Speaking the Unspeakable provides an in-depth exploration of client-practitioner dual relationships, offering critical discussion and sustained narrative on thinking about and being in dual relationships. Lynne Gabriel draws on the experiences of both practitioners and clients to provide a clear summary of the complex and multidimensional nature of dual relationships. The beneficial as well as detrimental potential of such relationships is discussed and illustrated with personal accounts. Subjects covered include: · Roles and boundaries in (...) dual and multiple role relationships · Client experiences and perceptions of being in dual and multiple role relationships · Developing a relational ethic for complex relationships This book offers an insightful and challenging portrayal of dual relationships that will be welcomed by therapists, trainers, trainees and supervisors. (shrink)
In this article I bring together Jacques Derrida and Luce Irigaray's engagements with Sigmund Freud's vexed attempt to step beyond the pleasure principle. Derrida's speculations on the name, the house and the practice of Freud find him inadvertently rewriting the conditions of the autobiographical as that which erases as much as inscribes, while Irigaray requires a sexually different modelling of what we call language if the experience of the girl is to be addressed. Yet Irigaray uncannily repeats the teleological gesture (...) of laying claim to a legacy, diagnosed in Freud by Derrida, even as this legacy is newly imagined as that of the feminine to which Freud remained blind. I then interweave these revised stakes of the fort-da game as they are expressed in two experimental films; Lynn Hershman Leeson's feature Conceiving Ada (USA, 1997) and Hussein Chalayan's short Absent Presence (UK/Turkey, 2005). One self-consciously concerns the recovery of ‘lost’ women from history (da!), the other investigates the treatment of the foreigner staged with an all-female cast (in which the instability of foreign objects can secure no fortification for the scientific subject). The films differently engage fantasies concerning genetics, and differently engage the projection of a legacy as teleological ambition. Privileging Derrida's transformation of the pleasure into the postal principle as that which invokes ‘Tele–without telos’, I ask after the transmissibility of this ambition. (shrink)
The fields of environmental ethics and of religion and ecology have been shaped by Lynn White Jr.'s thesis that the roots of ecological crisis lie in religious cosmology. Independent critical movements in both fields, however, now question this methodological legacy and argue for alternative ways of inquiry. For religious ethics, the twin controversies cast doubt on prevailing ways of connecting environmental problems to religious deliberations because the criticisms raise questions about what counts as an environmental problem, how religious traditions change, (...) and whether ethicists should approach problems and traditions with reformist commitments. This article examines the critiques of White's legacy and presents a pluralist alternative that focuses religious ethics on the contextual strategies produced by moral communities as they confront environmental problems. (shrink)
Controversy about Lynn White’s thesis that medieval Christianity is to blame for our current environmental crisis has done little to challenge the basic structure of White’s argument and has taken little account of recent work done by medieval scholars. White’s ecotheological critics, in particular, have often failed to come to grips with White’s position. In this paper, I question White’s reading of history on both interpretative and factual grounds and argue that religious values cannot be treated independently of the political, (...) economic, and social conditions that sustain them. I conclude that medieval religious values were more complex than White suggests: rather than causing technological innovation, they more likely provided a justification for other activity taking place for other reasons. (shrink)
Blair's assertion that fluid intelligence (gF) is distinct from general intelligence (g) is contradictory to cumulative evidence from intelligence research, including extant and novel evidence about generational IQ gains (Lynn–Flynn effect). Because of the near unity of gF and g, his hypothetical concept of gF' (gF “purged” of g variance) may well be a phlogiston theory. (Published Online April 5 2006).
This book presents and defends a unique account of the material world: the Constitution View. The Constitution View construes familiar things as irreducible parts of reality. Although ultimately constituted by physical particles, everyday things are neither identical to nor reducible to the aggregates of particles that constitute them The result is genuine ontological diversity: people, bacteria, donkeys, mountains and microscopes are fundamentally different kinds of things--all constituted by aggregates of particles. This view is supported by discussions of nonreductive causation, vagueness, (...) mereology, ontological novelty, ontological levels and emergence. (shrink)
The extended-mind thesis (EM) is the claim that mentality need not be situated just in the brain, or even within the boundaries of the skin. Some versions take "extended selves" be to relatively transitory couplings of biological organisms and external resources. First, I show how EM can be seen as an extension of traditional views of mind. Then, after voicing a couple of qualms about EM, I reject EM in favor of a more modest hypothesis that recognizes enduring subjects of (...) experience and agents with integrated bodies. Nonetheless, my modest hypothesis allows subpersonal states to have nonbiological parts that play essential roles in cognitive processing. I present empirical warrant for this modest hypothesis and show how it leaves room for science and religion to coexist. (shrink)
The expression ‘nonreductive materialism’ refers to a variety of positions whose roots lie in attempts to solve the mind-body problem. Proponents of nonreductive materialism hold that the mental is ontologically part of the material world; yet, mental properties are causally efficacious without being reducible to physical properties.s After setting out a minimal schema for nonreductive materialism (NRM) as an ontological position, I’ll canvass some classical arguments in favor of (NRM).1 Then, I’ll discuss the major challenge facing any construal of (NRM): (...) the problem of mental causation, pressed by Jaegwon Kim. Finally, I’ll offer a new solution to the problem of mental causation. (shrink)
After centuries of reflection, the issue of human freedom remains vital largely because of its connection to moral responsibility. When I ask—What is human freedom?—I mean to be asking what kind of freedom is required for moral responsibility? Questions about moral responsibility are intimately connected to questions about social policy and justice; so, the issue of moral responsibility—of desert, of whether or not anyone is ever really praiseworthy or blameworthy—has practical as well as theoretical significance.
The first-person perspective is a challenge to naturalism. Naturalistic theories are relentlessly third-personal. The first-person perspective is, well, first-personal; it is the perspective from which one thinks of oneself as oneself* without the aid of any third-person name, description, demonstrative or other referential device. The exercise of the capacity to think of oneself in this first-personal way is the necessary condition of all our self-knowledge, indeed of all our self-consciousness. As important as the first-person perspective is, many philosophers have not (...) appreciated the force of the data from the first-person perspective, and suppose that the first-person perspective presents no particular problems for the naturalizing philosopher. For example, Ned Block commented, “It is of course [phenomenal] consciousness rather than...self-consciousness that has seemed such a scientific mystery.” (Block 1995, 230) And <span class='Hi'>David</span> Chalmers says that self-consciousness is one of those psychological states that “pose no deep metaphysical enigmas.” (Chalmers 1996, 24). (shrink)
Amie Thomasson has won well-deserved praise for her book, Ordinary Objects. She defends a commonsense world view and gives us “reason to think that there are fundamental particles, plants and animals, sticks and stones, tables and chairs, and even marriages and mortgages.” (p. 181) Ordinary objects comprise a vast array of things—natural objects both scientific and commonsensical, artifacts, organisms, abstract social objects.
We run into instances of material constitution everywhere we turn. Material constitution is the relation that obtains between an octagonal piece of metal and a Stop sign, between strands of DNA molecules and genes, between pieces of paper and dollar bills, between stones and monuments, between lumps of clay and statues, between human persons and their bodies—the list is endless. Although there has been a great deal of controversy recently about the nature of material constitution, I want to enter the (...) fray by setting out and defending an explicit definition of what it is for an object x to constitute an object y at time t. (shrink)
According to the Constitution View of persons, a human person is wholly constituted by (but not identical to) a human organism. This view does justice both to our similarities to other animals and to our uniqueness. As a proponent of the Constitution View, I defend the thesis that the coming-into-existence of a human person is not simply a matter of the coming-into-existence of an organism, even if that organism ultimately comes to constitute a person. Marshalling some support from developmental psychology, (...) I give a broadly materialistic account of the coming-into-existence of a human person. I argue for the metaphysical superiority of the Constitution View to Biological Animalism, Thomistic Animalism, and other forms of Substance Dualism. I conclude by discussing the single implication of the Constitution View for thinking about abortion. Footnotesa Thanks to Gareth Matthews and Catherine E. Rudder for comments. I am also grateful to other contributors to this volume, especially Robert A. Wilson, Marya Schechtman, David Oderberg, Stephen Braude, and John Finnis. (shrink)
Nonphilosophers, if they think of philosophy at all, wonder why people work in metaphysics. After all, metaphysics, as Auden once said of poetry, makes nothing happen.1 Yet some very intelligent people are driven to spend their lives exploring metaphysical theses. Part of what motivates metaphysicians is the appeal of grizzly puzzles (like the paradox of the heap or the puzzle of the ship of Theseus). But the main reason to work in metaphysics, for me at least, is to understand the (...) shared world that we all encounter and interact with. And the shared world that we all encounter includes us self-conscious beings and our experience. The world that we inhabit is unavoidably a temporal world: the signing of the Declaration of Independence is later than the Lisbon earthquake; the Cold War is in the past; your death is in the future. There is no getting away from time. (shrink)
Abstract: On standard accounts, actions are caused by reasons (Davidson), and reasons are taken to be neural phenomena. Since neural phenomena are wholly understandable from a third-person perspective, standard views have no room for any ineliminable first-personal elements in an account of the causation of action. This article aims to show that first-person perspectives play essential roles in both human and nonhuman agency. Nonhuman agents have rudimentary first-person perspectives, whereas human agents—at least rational agents and moral agents—have robust first-person perspectives. (...) The author concludes with a view of intentional causation, according to which reasons are constituted by (but not identical to) neural phenomena. The idea of constitution without identity allows for a causal account of action that automatically includes first-personal aspects of agency. (shrink)