Some authors have called for increased research on various forms of geoengineering as a means to address global climate change. This paper focuses on the question of whether a particular form of geoengineering, namely deploying sulfate aerosols in the stratosphere to counteract some of the effects of increased greenhouse gas concentrations, would be a just response to climate change. In particular, we examine problems sulfate aerosol geoengineering (SAG) faces in meeting the requirements of distributive, intergenerational, and procedural justice. We argue (...) that SAG faces obstacles to meeting the requirements of all three considered kinds of justice, because its impacts can harm some persons and communities much more than others; it poses serious risks to future generations; and SAG is especially prone to unilateral implementation. While we do not claim that SAG ought not to be implemented, we argue that it is the responsibility of proponents of SAG to recognize and address these ethical obstacles before advocating its implementation. (shrink)
Abstract. The introduction of English as the medium of instruction for higher education in India in 1835 created a ferment in society and in the religious beliefs of educated Indians—Hindus, Muslims, and, later, Christians. There was a Hindu renaissance characterized by the emergence of reform movements led by charismatic figures who fastened upon aspects of Western thought, especially science, now available in English. The publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859 was readily assimilated by educated Hindus, and (...) several reformers, notably Vivekananda and Aurobindo, incorporated evolution into their philosophies. Hindu scientists such as Jagadish Chandra Bose were also influenced by Darwinian evolution, as were a number of modern Hindu thinkers. The results of an investigation into the religious beliefs of young Indian scientists at four centers were also summarized. The view that “what goes around comes around” appears increasingly to be open to doubt. Many educated Indians, not only Hindus, are raising more probing questions that call for deeper dialogues between science and religion, especially about what each believes it means to be truly human. (shrink)
Throughout its long history, mathematics has involved the use ofsystems of written signs, most notably, diagrams in Euclidean geometry and formulae in the symbolic language of arithmetic and algebra in the mathematics of Descartes, Euler, and others. Such systems of signs, I argue, enable one to embody chains of mathematical reasoning. I then show that, properly understood, Frege’s Begriffsschrift or concept-script similarly enables one to write mathematical reasoning. Much as a demonstration in Euclid or in early modern algebra does, a (...) proof in Frege’s concept-script shows how it goes. (shrink)
I suggest a strategy for defending the Divine Command Theory of morality against the familiar “anything goes” objection. The objection is that this theory of morality has counter-intuitive moral implications. I argue that the objection fails to notice the difference between a first-order expression of a moral proposition and a second-order metaethical account of what justifies moral standards. The objection treats the theory as if it were the former, when it is actually the latter.
Philosophy Goes to the Movies is a new kind of introduction to philosophy that makes use of the movies to explore philosophical ideas and positions. From art-house movies like Cinema Paradiso to Hollywood blockbusters like The Matrix, the movies we have grown up with provide us with a world of memorable images, events and situations that can be used to illustrate, illuminate and provoke philosophical thought.
A standard response is that we live in "an era full of promise," "one of those rare transforming moments in history" (James Baker). The United States "has a new credibility," the President announced, and dictators and tyrants everywhere know "that what we say goes." George Bush is "at the height of his powers" and "has made very clear that he wants to breathe light into that hypothetical creature, the Middle East peace process" (Anthony Lewis). (...) So things are looking up. (shrink)
The debate about concepts has always been shaped by a contrast between subjectivism, which treats them as phenomena in the mind or head of individuals, and objectivism, which insists that they exist independently of individual minds. The most prominent contemporary version of subjectivism is Fodor's RTM. The Fregean charge against subjectivism is that it cannot do justice to the fact that different individuals can share the same concepts. Proponents of RTM have accepted shareability as a 'non-negotiable constraint'. At the same (...) time they insist that by distinguishing between sign-types and -- tokens the Fregean objection cannot just be circumvented but revealed to be fallacious. My paper rehabilitates the Fregean argument against subjectivism. The RTM response rests either on an equivocation of 'concept'--between types which satisfy the non-negotiable constraint and tokens which are mental particulars in line with RTM doctrine--or on the untenable idea that one and the same entity can be both a shareable type and hence abstract and a concrete particular in the head. Furthermore, subjectivism cannot be rescued by adopting unorthodox metaphysical theories about the type/token and universal/particular contrasts. The final section argues that concepts are not representations or signs, but something represented by signs. Even if RTM is right to explain conceptual thinking by reference to the occurrence of mental representations, concepts themselves cannot be identical with such representations. (shrink)
The traditional absolutist-relationist debate is still clearly formulable in the context of General Relativity Theory (GTR), despite the important differences between Einstein's theory and the earlier context of Newtonian physics. This paper answers recent arguments by Robert Rynasiewicz against the significance of the debate in the GTR context. In his (1996) (‘Absolute vs. Relational Spacetime: An Outmoded Debate?’), Rynasiewicz argues that already in the late nineteenth century, and even more so in the context of General Relativity theory, the terms of (...) the original Descartes–Newton–Leibniz dispute about space are not to be found. Nineteenth-century ether theories of electromagnetism, and the metric field of GTR, he claims, do not lend themselves to being interpreted clearly as either absolute space à la Newton, or relational structures à la either Descartes or Leibniz. I argue that, while in some imaginable theories Rynasiewicz's claim that the classical debate dissolves would be correct, in fact in the most important historical theories he discusses, this is not the case. In particular, I argue that in both Lorentz's ether theory and General relativity theory, there is a clear and compelling way to establish connections to the classical absolutist-relationist disputes, and that in both these theories it is the absolutist position that is prima facie victorious. To support my arguments and give a clear overview of the whole debate, I end by offering definitional sketches of relationism and absolutism (substantivalism) about spacetime in the context of contemporary physics. The sketches show the clear connections between these views today and their ancestors in Newton and Leibniz. But at the same time, they indicate how both views are not just claims about existing physical theories, but rather also bets about how future physics will clarify the ontological picture. (shrink)
The concept of temporal flow has been attacked both on the grounds that it is logically incoherent, and on the grounds that it conflicts with the theory of relativity. I argue that the charge of incoherence cannot be made to stick: McTaggart's argument commits the fallacy of equivocation, and arguments deployed by Smart and others turn out to be question-begging. But objections arising from relativity, so I claim, have considerably more force than Lucas acknowledges. Moreover, the idea of equating the (...) cosmic time which arises in general relativistic cosmology with a metaphysically preferred space-time foliation, founders on the fact that the Friedmann models are idealisations. Finally, Lucas may be right in claiming that dynamical wave-function collapse, provided it does not propagate superluminally, will define a preferred foliation. But it is arguable that this consideration, so far from supporting Lucas's position, is grounds for rejecting collapse interpretations of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
The intelligent-seeming deeds of computers are what occasion philosophical debate about artificial intelligence (AI) in the first place. Since evidence of AI is not bad, arguments against seem called for. John Searle's Chinese Room Argument (1980a, 1984, 1990, 1994) is among the most famous and long-running would-be answers to the call. Surprisingly, both the original thought experiment (1980a) and Searle's later would-be formalizations of the embedding argument (1984, 1990) are quite unavailing against AI proper (claims that computers do or someday (...) will think ). Searle lately even styles it a "misunderstanding" (1994, p. 547) to think the argument was ever so directed! The Chinese room is now advertised to target Computationalism (claims that computation is what thought essentially is ) exclusively. Despite its renown, the Chinese Room Argument is totally ineffective even against this target. (shrink)
: This article argues that commercial weight-loss organizations appropriate and debase the askeses—practices of care of the self—that Michel Foucault theorized, increasing members' capacities at the same time as they encourage participation in ever-tightening webs of power. Weight Watchers, for example, claims to promote self-knowledge, cultivate new capacities and pleasures, foster self-care in face of gendered exploitation, and encourage wisdom and flexibility. The hupomnemata of these organizations thus use asketic language to conceal their implication in normalization.
If free markets consist in nothing more than “capitalist acts between consenting adults,” and if in the old legal maxim “volenti non fit injuria,” then it seems to follow that free markets do no wrongs. But that defense of free markets wrenches the “volenti” maxim out of context. In common law adjudication of disputes between two parties, it is perfectly appropriate to cast standards of “volenti” narrowly, and largely ignore “duress via third parties” (wrongs done to or by others who (...) are not themselves party to the action). In economic markets, of course, those third-party effects are rife. But we want them to be rectified systematically, not piecemeal through particular cases between particular parties that happen to come to court. That is the proper province of political philosophers and system-designers, in critiquing and constraining the operation of the market. (shrink)
The paper is a critical discussion of the rich and insightful final chapter of Mitchell Green’s Self-Expression . There, Green seeks to elucidate the compelling, but inchoate intuition that when we’re fully and most expertly expressing ourselves, we can ‘push out’ from within not just our inner representations, but also the ways that we feel. I question, first, whether this type of ‘qualitative expression’ is really distinct from the other expressive forms that Green explores, and also whether it’s genuinely ‘expressive’. (...) I then scrutinize the nature of the ‘qualitative congruences’ that lie at the heart of Green’s theory; and I wonder whether they can play the role Green claims they can in providing a novel account of artistic expression. (shrink)
Does science justify any part of mathematics and, if so, what part? These questions are related to the so-called indispensability arguments propounded, among others, by Quine and Putnam; moreover, both were led to accept significant portions of set theory on that basis. However, set theory rests on a strong form of Platonic realism which has been variously criticized as a foundation of mathematics and is at odds with scientific realism. Recent logical results show that it is possible to directly formalize (...) almost all, if not all, scientifically applicable mathematics in a formal system that is justified simply by Peano Arithmetic (via a proof-theoretical reduction). It is argued that this substantially vitiates the indispensability arguments. (shrink)
I argue that Japanese noise could only become meaningful and articulate at a time when thought and language have become somehow inarticulate. I very briefly recount T.W. Adorno's controversial claims that we live in a wholly abstract and instrumental world, where each object we encounter holds meaning only as 1) a representative of the class to which it belongs and 2) a tool for our use. As is now the convention in Adorno scholarship and cultural studies generally, I name ordering (...) principles of such life identity thinking and the object of its inarticulacy the non-identical. Rather than devoting this paper to debating the veracity of these principles, once I unpack modern art's predicament within the confines of identity thinking I make a case for the utter sensibility of the prima facie senselessness of Japanese noise. But this ultimate sensibility of Japanese noise, I argue, exemplifies the crisis of all modern art: despite its efforts to frustrate sense and stall the prevailing cultural logic, it becomes sensible as a commodified cultural product. Japanese noise therefore provides a case study of the process by which a critique of a consumer culture becomes a commercial product of that culture, thereby neutralizing the critical power of the work. Within such structures the critical capacity of art in general is under threat. (shrink)
The Regress Argument is supposed to show that the language of thought hypothesis results in an infinite regress in its explanation of such things as learning, meaning, and understanding. Earlier (in Laurence & Margolis 1997) we argued that the Regress Argument doesn’t work and that even the language of thought’s supporters have given the Regress Argument far too much credit. In this paper, we respond to a critique of our earlier discussion.
Philosophy is usually considered to be searching out the most general, and hence also the most necessary and the most eternal, truth; its central part, ontology, is often assumed to be fastening upon whatever might be "the form of the world". And because our world is the world as formed by the way we comprehend it and by the way we cope with it by means of our language, it is often assumed that its form must be brought out by (...) the analysis of the interrelations between the meanings of our words and our statements. This is why many philosophers, and analytic philosophers in particular, say that philosophy consists in the analysis of meaning. However, to maintain that philosophy is in this way interlocked with necessary truth and with meaning is no longer a simple matter. Both these concepts are being constantly challenged. Is there, after all, something like necessary truth (pace Quine) to be captured by philosophy? Can we still maintain that there is a meaning (pace not only Quine, but also Austin, Wittgenstein and other sceptics), which can constitute the subject to philosophical analyses? And if these concepts should become endangered species, then what about philosophy? (shrink)
The Language of Thought Hypothesis (LOT) is at the centre of a number of the most fundamental debates about the mind. Yet many philosophers want to reject LOT out of hand on the grounds that it is essentially a recid- ivistic doctrine, one that has long since been refuted. According to these philosophers, LOT is subject to a devastating regress argument. There are several versions of the argument, but the basic idea is as follows. (1) Natu- ral language has some (...) important feature, X.<sup>1</sup> (2) Defenders of LOT appeal to an internal system of representation in order to explain this feature of natural language. (3) Yet the hypothesized language of thought also has X. (4) This raises the following dilemma: If we offer an analogous explanation of the language of thought. (shrink)
In Torture, Terror and Trade-Offs: Philosophy for the White House Jeremy Waldron asks how moral philosophy can illuminate real life political problems. He argues that moral philosophers should remind politicians of the importance of adhering to moral principle, and he also argues that some moral principles are absolute and exceptionless. Thus, he is very critical of those philosophers who, post 9/11, were willing to condone the use of torture. In this article I discuss and criticize Waldron’s absolutism. In particular, I (...) claim that the arguments he offers in support of it are either dependent on religious conviction or support only rule utilitarianism, not absolutism. Additionally, I argue that the character of politics is such that it is both undesirable and morally irresponsible for politicians to adopt the absolutist approach favoured by Waldron. We have reason to be glad that Professor Waldron does not go to Washington. (shrink)
Midstream modulation is a form of public engagement with science which benefits from strategic application of science and technology studies (STS) insights accumulated over nearly 20 years. These have been developed from STS researchers’ involvement in practical engagement processes and research with scientists, science funders, policy and other public stakeholders. The strategic aim of this specific method, to develop what is termed second-order reflexivity amongst scientist-technologists, builds upon and advances earlier more general STS work. However this method is focused and (...) structured so as to help generate such reflexivity—over the ‘upstream’ questions which have been identified in other STS research as important public issues for scientific research, development and innovation—amongst practising scientists-technologists in their specialist contexts (public or private, in principle). This is a different focus from virtually all such previous work, and offers novel opportunities for those key broader issues to be opened up. The further development of these promising results depends on some important conditions such as identifying and engaging research funders and other stakeholders like affected publics in similar exercises. Implementing these conditions could connect the productive impacts of midstream modulation with wider public engagement work, including with ‘uninvited’ public engagement with science. It would also generate broader institutional and political changes in the larger networks of institutional actors which constitute contemporary technoscientific innovation and governance processes. All of these various broader dimensions, far beyond the laboratory alone, need to be appropriately open, committed to democratic needs, and reflexive, for the aims of midstream modulation to be achieved, whilst allowing specialists to work as specialists. (shrink)
Jeremy Rifkin argues that as we push further into the Information Age fewer and fewer workers will be needed to produce our goods and services. Rifkin predicts that the era of near workerless factories and virtual corporations looms on the horizon. As one wagcommentator put it: “The factory of the future will be staffed by only two living things, a man and a dog. The man’s job will be to feed thedog. The dog’s job will be to keep the man (...) from touching any of the machines!” In a world that is phasing out mass employment, asksRifkin, how do we find alternate ways for individuals to earn a living, find meaningful and creative outlets for expressions and establishtheir own sense of self-worth and identity? In other words, in the absence of work, how will we come to define ourselves? What will wedo with ourselves? How will we stay sane? (shrink)
This article reads Cherokee academic/author Thomas King’s “The One About Coyote Going West” and Okanagan writer Jeannette Armstrong’s “This is a Story” to question whether these Aboriginal creation tales subvert the referential race codes and the kinds of hierarchical exclusion that take place in Caucasian discourses about Homo sapiens. To do so, it draws links between Slavoj Zizek’s post identity theories, and post-colonial and Indigenous literary and nationalist epistemologies, to challenge the implications of how the Coyote narratives transformation the hegemony, (...) or “the big Other.”. (shrink)
Just to indicate how this impacted at ground level, when I visited the Uni of NSW round about 1970 an honours student in chemistry who was keeping up with these things told me that Popper was no longer regarded as a leading figure in this field because he had been superseded by Kuhn.
The growth of socially responsible investment (SRI) on public financial markets has drawn considerable academic attention over the last decade. Discarding from the previous literature, this article sets up to analyze the Private Equity channel, which is shown to have the potentiality to foster sustainable practices in unlisted companies. The fast integration of the environmental, social and governance issues by mainstream Private Equity investors is unveiled and appears to have benefited from the maturation of SRI on public financial markets and (...) the impetus of large conventional actors. Hypotheses on the characteristics and drivers of this movement are proposed and tested on a unique database covering the French Private Equity industry in 2011. Empirical findings support that Private Equity socially responsible investing is characterized by investor engagement and strategically driven by a need for new value creation sources, increased risk management and differentiation. In particular, results show that independent funds, which need to attract investors, are more likely than captive funds to develop socially responsible practices. Evolution of the movement and future research paths are proposed. (shrink)