We offer an empirical assessment of description theories of proper names. We examine empirical evidence on lexical and cognitive development, memory, and aphasia, to see whether it supports Descriptivism. We show that description theories demand much more, in terms of psychological assumptions, than what the data suggest; hence, they lack empirical support. We argue that this problem undermines their success as philosophical theories for proper names in natural languages. We conclude by presenting and defending a preliminary alternative account of reference (...) from a developmental perspective. (shrink)
A central problem in epistemology concerns the justification of beliefs about epistemic principles, i.e., principles stating which kinds of beliefs are justified and which not. It is generally regarded as circular to justify such beliefs empirically. However, some recent defenders of foundationalism have argued that, within a foundationalist framework, one can justify beliefs about epistemic principles empirically without incurring the charge of vicious circularity. The key to this position is a sharp distinction between first- and second-level justifiedness.In this paper I (...) first argue that such versions of foundationalism end up giving their approval to circular chains and are therefore unmotivated; if circular chains are acceptable, the classic regress argument for foundationalism does not go through. I then consider and reject two other ways in which the foundationalist might motivate his position. At the end of the paper I draw from this discussion a moral concerning the airns of epistemological theorizing. (shrink)
From young children, with their guileless, searching questions, to the recently bereaved, trying to make sense of tragic loss, humans wrestle with our relationship to God--and with God's essence, motivations, and power--throughout our lives: Why does God permit catastrophe and senseless tragedy, again and again? Is God's power limited in any way? Can He change the past? Does He know the future? Why does God require prayer? Why does He not provide stronger evidence of His presence? Whom does God consign (...) to hell, and why? Does God change? Suffer? What can we make of the conflicting diversity within world religions, of the many gods of different religious traditions? Such questions engage, confront, and perplex us on a daily basis. In this rich, concise volume, leading philosophers who have long pondered God's nature and ways take on these core problems and present their findings in a manner likely to engage believer and non-believer, general reader and specialist alike. (shrink)
Do undergraduate students perceive that it is more acceptable to ‹cheat’ using information technology (IT) than it is to cheat without the use of IT? Do business discipline-related majors cheat more than non-business discipline-related majors? Do undergraduate students perceive it to be more acceptable for them personally to cheat than for others to cheat? Questionnaires were administered to undergraduate students at five geographical academic locations in the spring, 2006 and fall 2006 and spring, 2007. A total of 708 usable questionnaires (...) were returned including 532 from students majoring in business-related disciplines and 139 from students majoring in non-business related disciplines (37 were undecided). It appears that in terms of intellectual property violations, undergraduate students in general find cheating using IT more acceptable than cheating without the use of IT. It also appears that undergraduate students perceive that it is relatively more acceptable for them to personally cheat when using IT than for others to cheat when using IT, although this is reversed when IT is not involved. No significant differences on these issues were found between undergraduate students having business discipline-related majors and those having non-business discipline-related majors. (shrink)
This paper is a reply to James Keller's criticisms of my Foundationalism, Coherentism and the Levels Gambit (Synthese 55, April 1983).Foundationalists have often claimed that, within a foundationalist framework, one can justify beliefs about epistemic principles in a mediate, empirical fashion, while escaping the charge of vicious circularity that is usually thought to afflict such methods of justification. In my original paper I attacked this foundationalist strategy; I argued that once mediate, empirical justification of epistemic principles is allowed, the (...) foundationalist must also allow circular patterns of justification of the sort that he typically criticizes coherentists for espousing. Here I argue that Keller's reply only makes matters worse for the foundationalist. At several points, his reply turns out to be inconsistent either with reliabilism or with the foundationalist strategy he is trying to defend. (shrink)
The doctrine that God hardens some agents’ hearts generates philosophical perplexities. Why would God deprive someone of free will and the opportunity to repent? Or is God’s interference compatible with the agent’s free will and his having an opportunity to repent? In this paper, I examine how two Jewish philosophers, Moses Maimonides and Joseph Albo, handled these questions. I analyze six approaches growing out of their writings and argue that a naturalistic interpretation of hardening --- as irreversible habituation --- has (...) advantages over alternative approaches. This account of hardening, however, fits best with the thesis that God does sometimes intervene to improve an agent’s will. (shrink)
This essay serves as both a response and embellishment of Marilyn Frye's now classic essay "Oppression." It is meant to pick up where this essay left off and to make connections between oppression, as Frye defines it, and the privileges that result from institutional structures. This essay tries to clarify one meaning of privilege that is lost in philosophical discussions of injustice. I develop a distinction between unearned privileges and earned advantages. Clarifying the meaning of privilege as unearned structural (...) advantage makes visible the role white privilege plays in maintaining complex systems of domination such as racism, sexism, heterosexism and classism. Using a critical reading of both Frye (1983) and Young's (1990) accounts of oppression as a springboard, I develop a definition of privilege as a particular class of unearned advantages. -/- I distinguish my account of privilege from standard legal and philosophical definitions of privilege. The general distinction I make between privileges and advantages rests on three interrelated claims: (a) that benefits granted by privilege are always unearned and conferred systemically to members of dominant social groups; (b) that privileges granted to members of dominant groups solely on the basis of their membership in these groups is never justifiable; and, (c) that privileges have an unconditional value that can be explained not only in terms of immunities, but also in terms of additional benefits. (shrink)
While taking Charles Chihara's metaphysics course as a graduate student at U.C. Berkeley, I wrote an advice columnist to ask about the puzzle at the center of the course. Marilyn Vos Savant writes a weekly column for Parade Magazine , which is included in the Sunday editions of many newspapers. She claims to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for "highest IQ".
This paper contains an overview of the essays contained in the Mind and morals anthology plus a critical discussion of certain themes raised in many of these essays concerning the bearing of recent work in cognitive science on the traditional project of moral theory. Specifically, I argue for the following claims: (1) authors like Virginia Held, who appear to be antagonistic toward the methodological naturalism of Owen Flanagan, Andy Clark, Paul Churchland, and others, are really in fundamental agreement with the (...) naturalists (at least once the naturalist view is suitably clarified); (2) the prototype theory of moral concepts that is inspired by recent work in cognitive science does not necessarily jeopardize the aim of systematization characteristic of traditional moral theory; (3) nor does it threaten certain widely accepted views about moral rationality that is part of traditional moral theorizing. Moreover, I speculate that (4) recent work in cognitive science can be expected to play a corroborative role in the justification of theories in ethics, but we should probably not expect this work to yield new insights and directions in ethics. Finally, (5) Fodor's recent critique of cognitive science makes clear the perils of methodological ethical naturalism. (shrink)
Pessoa, Thompson & Noë present compelling evidence in support of their central claims about the diversity of filling-in, but they embed those claims within a larger framework that rejects analytical isomorphism and uses the personal/subpersonal distinction to challenge the explanatory importance of filling-in. The latter views seem more problematic.
It is an honor and also a pleasure to respond to the three philosophers who have devoted so much time and careful attention to reading and critiquing my paper "Nations of Immigrants: Do Words Matter?" As an interdisciplinary scholar who interacts more often with specialists in the social sciences, history, and Italian studies than with philosophers, I was unsure what to expect from the Coss Dialogue. Would it be possible to find words common enough to all that we could begin (...) to address the complex issues raised by national mythology about the United States as a nation of immigrants? I believe that our panel discussions revealed the common ground we rather quickly found. But they also uncovered a few gaping chasms .. (shrink)
Women have historically been prevented from living autonomously by systematic injustice, subordination, and oppression. The lingering effects of these practices have prompted many feminists to view autonomy with suspicion. Here, Marilyn Friedman defends the ideal of feminist autonomy. In her eyes, behavior is autonomous if it accords with the wants, cares, values, or commitments that the actor has reaffirmed and is able to sustain in the face of opposition. By her account, autonomy is socially grounded yet also individualizing and (...) sometimes socially disruptive, qualities that can be ultimately advantageous for women. Friedman applies the concept of autonomy to domains of special interest to women. She defends the importance of autonomy in romantic love, considers how social institutions should respond to women who choose to remain in abusive relationships, and argues that liberal societies should tolerate minority cultural practices that violate women's rights so long as the women in question have chosen autonomously to live according to those practices. (shrink)
[Marilyn McCord Adams] In this paper I begin with Aristotle's Categories and with his apparent forwarding of primary substances as metaphysically special because somehow fundamental. I then consider how medieval reflection on Aristotelian change led medieval Aristotelians to analyses of primary substances that called into question how and whether they are metaphysically special. Next, I turn to a parallel issue about supposits, which Boethius seems in effect to identify with primary substances, and how theological cases-the doctrines of the Trinity, (...) the Incarnation, and of the human soul's separate survival between death and resurrection-call into question how and to what extent supposits are metaphysically special. I conclude with some reflections on various senses of being metaphysically special and how they pertain to primary substances and supposits. /// [Richard Cross] Scotus's belief that any created substance can depend on the divine essence and/or divine persons as a subject requires him to abandon the plausible Aristotelian principle that there is no merely relational change. I argue that Scotus's various counterexamples to the principle can be rebutted. For reasons related to those that arise in Scotus's failed attempt to refute the principle, the principle also entails that properties cannot be universals. (shrink)
How can the Body and Blood of Christ, without ever leaving heaven, come to be really present on eucharistic altars where the bread and wine still seem to be? Thirteenth and fourteenth century Christian Aristotelians thought the answer had to be "transubstantiation." -/- Acclaimed philosopher, Marilyn McCord Adams, investigates these later medieval theories of the Eucharist, concentrating on the writings of Thomas Aquinas, Giles of Rome, Duns Scotus, and William Ockham, with some reference to Peter Lombard, Hugh of St. (...) Victor, and Bonaventure. She examines how their efforts to formulate and integrate this theological datum provoked them to make significant revisions in Aristotelian philosophical theories regarding the metaphysical structure and location of bodies, differences between substance and accidents, causality and causal powers, and fundamental types of change. Setting these developments in the theological context that gave rise to the question draws attention to their understandings of the sacraments and their purpose, as well as to their understandings of the nature and destiny of human beings. -/- Adams concludes that their philosophical modifications were mostly not ad hoc, but systematic revisions that made room for transubstantiation while allowing Aristotle still to describe what normally and naturally happens. By contrast, their picture of the world as it will be (after the last judgment) seems less well integrated with their sacramental theology and their understandings of human nature. (shrink)
The October 1996 issue of Life magazine included, among other things, a photograph of Marilyn Monroe naked.1 Most people will agree that had the same picture appeared in the pages of Hustler, it would have been pornographic. Furthermore, the picture was considered pornographic when it originally appeared in a calendar in the late 1940’s, and it was banned in two states. But is it pornography in the pages of Life? Should Life have warned its readers that the October 1996 (...) issue was an “adults only” issue, to be sold only from the top shelf of the magazine rack? Perhaps one will say that the difference is that in Hustler and in the calendar in which it originally appeared, but not in Life, the picture would have been treated primarily as a source of sexual arousal. But that can’t be the whole story. It is a common joke that generations of American boys have treated the Sears catalog and National Geographic primarily as sources of sexual arousal without thereby making them pornographic. Or perhaps one will say that the difference is that the producers of the calendar and of Hustler but not the producers of Life ~or of the Sears catalog and National Geographic! intend for the pictures they publish to be treated primarily as sources of arousal. But. (shrink)
This second edition of Women, Knowledge and Reality continues to exhibit the ways in which feminist philosophers enrich and challenge philosophy. Essays by twenty-five feminist philosophers, seventeen of them new to the second edition, address fundamental issues in philosophical and feminist methods, metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophies of science, language, religion and mind/body. This second edition expands the perspectives of women of color, of postmodernism and French feminism, and focuses on the most recent controversies in feminist theory and philosophy. The (...) chapters are organized by traditional fields of philosophy, and include introductions which contrast the ideas of feminist thinkers with traditional philosophers. The collected essays illustrate both the depth and breadth of feminist critiques and the range of contemporary feminist theoretical perspectives. (shrink)
The problem of evil is one of the most discussed topics in the philosophy of religion. For some time, however, there has been a need for a collection of readings that adequately represents recent and ongoing writing on the topic. This volume fills that need, offering the most up-to-date collection of recent scholarship on the problem of evil. The distinguished contributors include J.L. Mackie, Nelson Pike, Roderick M. Chisholm, Terence Penelhum, Alvin Plantinga, William L. Rowe, Stephen J. Wykstra, John Hick, (...) and Diogenes Allen. Including an introductory essay and a selected bibliography, this comprehensive and completely up-to-date collection is an invaluable guide to current scholarship in this highly debated area of the philosophy of religion. Oxford Readings in Philosophy aims to bring together important recent writings in major areas of philosophical inquiry, selected from a variety of sources, mostly periodicals, which may not be conveniently available. (shrink)
: The aim of this essay is to analyze the notion of "loving, knowing ignorance," a type of "arrogant perception" that produces ignorance about women of color and their work at the same time that it proclaims to have both knowledge about and loving perception toward them. The first part discusses Marilyn Frye's accounts of "arrogant" as well as of "loving" perception and presents an explanation of "loving, knowing ignorance." The second part discusses the work of Audre Lorde, Elizabeth (...) Spelman, and María Lugones in their attempts to deal with the issue of arrogant perception within feminism, and examines how Lugones's notion of "'world'-traveling" may help us deal with "loving, knowing ignorance." Ultimately, the author suggests that we need to become aware of instances of "loving, knowing ignorance," especially if we are to stay true to Third Wave feminism's commitment to diversity. (shrink)
There are many ways that accountants and managers can influence the reported accounting results of their organizational units. When such influence is directed at changing the amount of reported earnings, it is known as earnings management. The purpose of this paper is to present the results of surveys of undergraduate students, MBA students, and practicing accountants concerning their attitudes on the ethical acceptability of earnings management. Analysis of the survey results reveals how the attitudes of the three groups differ and (...) what variables are associated with these differences. Based on the analysis, the authors suggest changes in accounting education curriculum and ethics awareness programs in business which might increase students'' and practitioners'' sensitivity to the ethical ramifications of earnings management. (shrink)
Versions of this paper have been read to philosophical colloquia at Occidental College and California State University, Fullerton. I am indebted to participants in those discussions, to students in many of my classes, and particularly to Marilyn McCord Adams, Van Harvey, Thomas Kselman, William Laserow, and James Muyskens, for helpful comment on the ideas which are contained in this paper (or which would have been, had it not been for their criticisms).
This paper applies Plato’s cave allegory to Enron’s success and downfall. Plato’s famous tale of cave dwellers illustrates the different levels of truth and understanding. These levels include images, the sources of images, and the ultimate reality behind both. The paper first describes these levels of perception as they apply to Plato’s cave dwellers and then provides a brief history of the rise of Enron. Then we apply Plato’s levels of understanding to Enron, showing how the company created its image (...) and presented information to support that image, and how the public eventually emerged from the cave to realize the truth about Enron’s actual accounting practices and financial state, which led to the corporation’s downfall. We find Plato’s allegory both useful in analyzing the relationship between Enron and the public and instructive about the power and moral responsibility of Enron’s executives. (shrink)
The British Parliament legalized therapeutic cloning in December 2000 despite opposition from the European Union. The watershed event in Parliament's move was the active and unprecedented government support for the generation and destruction of human embryonic life merely as a means of medical advancement. This article contends that the utilitarian analysis of this procedure is necessary to identify the real world risks of therapeutic cloning but insufficient to identify the breach of defensible ethical limits that this procedure represents. A value-oriented (...) approach to Kantian ethics demonstrates that the utilitarian endorsement of therapeutic cloning entails a contradiction of the necessity of human vulnerability and a faulty valuation of the human embryo. The concern is that a narrow utilitarian focus ultimately commodifies human embryonic life and preferences outcomes as the sole determinant of moral value. (shrink)
Feminist ethics supports the contemporary educational trend toward increased multiculturalism and a diminished emphasis on the Western canon. First, I outline a feminist ethical justification for this development. Second, I argue that Western canon studies should not be altogether abandoned in a multicultural curriculum. Third, I suggest that multicultural education should help combat oppression in addition to simply promoting awareness of diversity. Fourth, I caution against an arrogant moralism in the teaching of multiculturalism.
In her paper ‘An Awkward Relationship: the Case of Feminism and Anthropology’, Marilyn Strathern argues that feminist research cannot produce a paradigm shift in social anthropology. I present an argument for thinking that, on the relevant understanding of paradigm shift, it is possible for this to happen. I then object to Strathern’s arguments against the possibility.
This paper raises some minor questions about Lisa Tessman’s book, Burdened Virtues. Friedman’s questions pertain, among other things, to the adequacy of a virtue ethical focus on character, the apparent implication of virtue ethics that oppressors suffer damaged characters and are not any better off than the oppressed, the importance of whether privileged persons may have earned their privileges, and the oppositional anger that movement feminists sometimes direct against each other.
In “Supralapsarianism, or ‘O Felix Culpa,’” Alvin Plantinga turns from defensive apologetics to the project of Christian explanation and offers a supralapsarian theodicy: the reason God made us in a world like this is that God wanted to create a world including the towering goods of Incarnation and atonement—goods which are appropriate only in worlds containing a sufficient amount of sin, suffering, and evil as well. Plantinga’s approach makes human agents and their sin, suffering and evil, instrumental means to the (...) end of God’s cosmic aims. I press the objection that means/end conceptuality is inadequate to explain how God is loving and merciful (as opposed to abusive) towards human sinners and sufferers. Plantinga’s theodicy remains under-developed without an explanation of how Incarnation and atonement benefit them. (shrink)
In Foundationalism, Coherentism, and the Levels Gambit, David Shatz argued that foundationalists must countenance a circular mediate justification of perceptual beliefs which the foundationalist holds are already immediately justified. Because the circularity of coherentist accounts of the justification of beliefs is a major basis of foundationalist criticism of coherentism, Shatz's claim is a serious challenge to foundationalism. In this paper, using a moderate foundationalism with a reliabilist conception of justification, I give an account of immediately and mediately justified (...) beliefs which shows that such a foundationalism need not accept such a circular justification (and in crucial cases cannot do so) and that Shatz's claim is therefore incorrect. (shrink)
The purpose of this essay is to take issue with two aspects of Marilyn Adams's monumental work William Ockham . Part I deals with Ockham's ontology, arguing (i) that Adams does not sufficiently appreciate the use Ockham makes of the prinicple of ontological parsimony in his attempt to refute the thesis that there are extramental universals or common natures and (ii) that she sets an implausibly high standard of success for Ockham's project of showing that the only singular entities (...) are substances and qualities. Part II argues that Adams fails to provide a convincing defense of Ockham's 'anti-secularist' answer to the question of how Christian thinkers should react to prima facie conflicts between the deliverances of faith and the deliverances of reason. (shrink)
Julian of Norwich emphasizes God’s eternal and unchanging love for humankind. Her visions show how God is not angry with our sins and so has no need to forgive us. God does not shame or blame us but excuses us and plans how to reward and compensate us for sin. In relation to Mother Jesus, we remain dear lovely children who need help, correction, and education. Although these remarks suggest to some that Julian must be soft on sin, that she (...) has no adequate appreciation of the worthiness of God or the dignity of human nature, I argue that this is far from the case. On the contrary, she makes Divine worthiness axiomatic and urges readers to live into it. She relocates human dignity not in its intrinsic value but in our centrality to God’s plan. She measures the seriousness of sin in terms of the real hard work it takes to rear us up out of it: crucifixion for Christ, the hell of being a sinner and the crucifixion of life-long penance for us. Nevertheless, the brightness of her visions dominates with her assurance that despite the sin-produced sufferings of this present life, all will be well. (shrink)
This essay explores how the social location of white traitorous identities might be understood. I begin by examining some of the problematic implications of Sandra Harding's standpoint framework description of race traitors as 'becoming marginal.' I argue that the location of white traitors might be better understood in terms of their 'decentering the center.' I distinguish between 'privilege-cognizant' and 'privilege-evasive' white scripts. Drawing on the work of Marilyn Frye and Anne Braden, I offer an account of the contrasting perceptions (...) and behaviors of white who animate one type of script and those who struggle to forge the other type. I use Maria Lugones account of identity and notions of 'world travel' and 'loving perception' and Aristotle's virtue theory to explicate the ways whites, and white feminists in particular, might cultivate a traitorous character conducive to an antiracist politics. (shrink)
In this paper I analyze the conceptions of internationalism and the international mind that Mead uses in "The Psychological Bases of Internationalism" (1915); in his 1917 Chicago Herald columns defending U.S. entry into the war; in Mind, Self, and Society (1934); and in "National Mindedness and International Mindedness" (1929). I show how the terms "internationalism" and "the international mind" arose within conversations among some Anglo-American thinkers. While Mead employs these terms in his own philosophical and sociological theorizing, he draws their (...) meaning from these conversations and does not generate their meaning from within his own theorizing. This places Mead among the "conservative internationalists" of his time. With this analysis, I then show how Hans Joas's criticisms of Mead's support for the war are misplaced. I also show how Mead's internationalism, correctly understood, cannot support Mitchell Aboulafia's construction of Mead's cosmopolitan self. Throughout, I demonstrate how Mead's discussions of internationalism need to be read in historical context, and are more political than scholars such as Aboulafia and Joas have supposed. (shrink)
: Nancy J. Hirschmann presents a feminist, social constructionist account of women's freedom. Friedman's discussion of Hirschmann's account deals with (1) some conceptual problems facing a thoroughgoing social constructionism; (2) three ways to modify social constructionism to avoid those problems; and (3) an assessment of Hirschmann's version of social constructionism in light of the previous discussion.
It seems that animal pain is an obstacle to belief in a good God, though Christianity has not been much concerned with the issue. A systemic approach to pain is not a complete answer, nor is there any merit in denying that God is subject to moral appraisal. Marilyn McCord Adams recommends that such investigations be located in the specifics of a religious tradition. Her advice eliminates a couple of radical solutions but there appear to be a number of (...) ways in which progress might be made without doing violence to the tradition that is in need of a theodicy. (shrink)
If cultures are always in the making, this book catches one kind of culture on the make. Academics will be familiar with audit in the form of research and teaching assessments - they may not be aware how pervasive practices of 'accountability' are or of the diversity of political regimes under which they flourish. Twelve social anthropologists from across Europe and the Commonwealth chart an influential and controversial cultural phenomenon.