We argue that Michael Peterson's and William Hasker's attempts to show that God and gratuitous evil are compatible constitute miserable failures. We then sketch Peter van Inwagen's attempt to do the same and conclude that, to date, no one has shown his attempt a failure.
This paper discusses how Wittgenstein’s thinking informs recent conversations about art and aesthetic practice by examining his influence on the work of the noted modernist art critic, Michael Fried. Fried considers an excerpt from Wittgenstein’s Culture and Value, with a puzzling thought experiment, to help us see more clearly the Canadian artist Jeff Wall’s photographic vision and aesthetic. I consider Fried’s account of the photographic practice of Jeff Wall, especially his photograph Morning Cleaning, Mies van der Rohe Foundation (1999).
This article criticizes the attempts by Bas van Fraassen and Michael Friedman to address the challenge to rationality posed by the Kuhnian analysis of scientific revolutions. In the paper, I argue that van Fraassen's solution, which invokes a Sartrean theory of emotions to account for radical change, does not amount to justifying rationally the advancement of science but, rather, despite his protestations to the contrary, is an explanation of how change is effected. Friedman's approach, which appeals to philosophical developments (...) at a meta-theoretical level, does not really address the problem of rationality as posed by Kuhn's work. Instead of showing how, despite revolutions, scientific development is, indeed, rational, he gives a transcendental account of rational scientific progress. (shrink)
In an earlier paper I identified two desiderata of a theory of practical reasons which favour internalism, and then argued that forms of this doctrine which are currently on offer lose either one or the other in trying to avoid the conditional fallacy. Michael Brady, Mark van Roojen and Josh Gert have separately attempted to respond to my argument. I set out reasons why all fail.
Suppose a fire broke out in a fertility clinic. One had time to save either a young girl, or a tray of ten human embryos. Would it be wrong to save the girl? According to Michael Sandel, the moral intuition is to save the girl; what is more, one ought to do so, and this demonstrates that human embryos do not possess full personhood, and hence deserve only limited respect and may be killed for medical research. We will argue, (...) however, that no relevant ethical implications can be drawn from the thought experiment. It demonstrates neither that one always ought to let the embryos die, nor does it allow for any general conclusion concerning the moral status of human embryos. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue against Peter van Inwagen’s claim (in “Free Will Remains a Mystery”), that agent-causal views of free will could do nothing to solve the problem of free will (specifically, the problem of chanciness). After explaining van Inwagen’s argument, I argue that he does not consider all possible manifestations of the agent-causal position. More importantly, I claim that, in any case, van Inwagen appears to have mischaracterized the problem in some crucial ways. Once we are clear on (...) the true nature of the problem of chanciness, agent-causal views do much to eradicate it. (shrink)
On the 27th of October, 1949, the Department of Philosophy at the University of Manchester organized a symposium "Mind and Machine", as Michael Polanyi noted in his Personal Knowledge (1974, p. 261). This event is known, especially among scholars of Alan Turing, but it is scarcely documented. Wolfe Mays (2000) reported about the debate, which he personally had attended, and paraphrased a mimeographed document that is preserved at the Manchester University archive. He forwarded a copy to Andrew Hodges and (...) B. Jack Copeland, who in then published it on their respective websites. The basis of this interpretation here is the copy preserved in the Regenstein Library of the University of Chicago, Special Collections, Polanyi Collection (abbreviated RPC, box 22, folder 19). The same collection holds the mimeographed statement that Polanyi prepared for this symposium: "Can the mind be represented by a machine?" This text has not been studied by Polanyi scholars. (shrink)
I. Introduction “We can and do see the truth about many things: ourselves, others, trees and animals, clouds and rivers—in the immediacy of experience.”1 Absent from Bas van Fraassen’s list of those things we see are paramecia and mitochondria. We do not see such things, van Fraassen has long maintained, because they are unobservable, that is, they are undetectable by means of the unaided senses.2 But notice that these two notions—what we can see in the “immediacy” of experience and what (...) is detectable by means of the unaided senses—are not the same. There is no incoherence in maintaining that the immediacy of experience is capable of disclosing to us truths concerning entities that are not detectable by the naked eye. And so, I claim, it does; science and technology provide us with the means to see things we have never seen before. Some of those things are van Fraassen’s unobservables. That suggestion is nothing new. Grover Maxwell long ago emphasized the continuity between seeing with and without instrumentation.3 Van Fraassen originally provided two responses to Maxwell’s arguments: some things that you can see with instruments you can also see without instruments (and those are the observables); and.. (shrink)
In Consciousness and persons, Michael Tye (Tye, M. (2003). Consciousness and persons. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.) develops and defends a novel approach to the unity of consciousness. Rather than thinking of the unity of consciousness as involving phenomenal relations between distinct experiences, as standard accounts do, Tye argues that we should regard the unity of consciousness as involving relations between the contents of consciousness. Having developed an account of what it is for consciousness to be unified, Tye goes on (...) to apply his account of the unity of consciousness to the split-brain syndrome. I provide a critical evaluation of Tye's account of the unity of consciousness and the split-brain syndrome. (shrink)
In his recent writings, Sir Michael Dummett has reflected twice on the Catholic position on the morality of contraception, focusing his attention especially on Humanae Vitae’s prohibition of the contraceptive use of the birth control pill. On examination, Dummett finds this prohibition ‘incoherent’, arguing that its promulgation ‘greatly damaged the respect of the faithful for the Catholic Church’s moral teaching in general’, as well as ‘the integrity of Catholic moral theology’. Given Dummett’s earlier defense of Paul VI’s reaffirmation of (...) the Church’s traditional position on contraception in Humanae Vitae, as well as his forceful criticisms of certain liberalizing tendencies among Catholic theologians and biblical scholars, these arguments deserve to be taken seriously, and regarded as coming from a spirit of serious philosophical reflection rather than casual dissent. Nevertheless, this paper argues that they are based on a misapprehension of what is really behind the position Dummett means to be criticizing, and that when the essentials of that position are clarified the rationale behind it is safe from his objections. (shrink)
The anti-reductionist who wants to preserve the causal efficacy of mental phenomena faces several problems in regard to mental causation, i.e. mental events which cause other events, arising from her desire to accept the ontological primacy of the physical and at the same time save the special character of the mental. Psychology tries to persuade us of the former, appealing thereby to the results of experiments carried out in neurology; the latter is, however, deeply rooted in our everyday actions and (...) beliefs and despite the constant opposition of science still very much alive. Difficulties, however, arise from a combination of two claims that are widely accepted in philosophy of mind, namely, physical monism and mental realism, the acceptance of which leads us to the greatest problem of mental causation: the problem of causal exclusion. Since physical causes alone are always sufficient for physical effects mental properties are excluded from causal explanations of our behaviour, which makes them “epiphenomenal”. The article introduces Van Gulick’s solution to the exclusion problem which tries to prove that physical properties, in contrast to mental properties, do not have as much of a privileged status with respect to event causation as usually ascribed. Therefore, it makes no sense to say that physical properties are causally relevant whereas mental properties are not. This is followed by my objection to his argument for levelling mental and physical properties with respect to causation of events. I try to show that Van Gulick’s argument rests on a premise that no serious physicalist can accept. (shrink)
Van Heijenoort’s main contribution to history and philosophy of modern logic was his distinction between two basic views of logic, first, the absolutist, or universalist, view of the founding fathers, Frege, Peano, and Russell, which dominated the first, classical period of history of modern logic, and, second, the relativist, or model-theoretic, view, inherited from Boole, Schröder, and Löwenheim, which has dominated the second, contemporary period of that history. In my paper, I present the man Jean van Heijenoort (Sect. 1); then (...) I describe his way of arguing for the second view (Sect. 2); and finally I come down in favor of the first view (Sect. 3). There, I specify the version of universalism for which I am prepared to argue (Sect. 3, introduction). Choosing ZFC to play the part of universal, logical (in a nowadays forgotten sense) system, I show, through an example, how the usual model theory can be naturally given its proper place, from the universalist point of view, in the logical framework of ZFC; I outline another, not rival but complementary, semantics for admissible extensions of ZFC in the very same logical framework; I propose a way to get universalism out of the predicaments in which universalists themselves believed it to be (Sect. 3.1). Thus, if universalists of the classical period did not, in fact, construct these semantics, it was not that their universalism forbade them, in principle, to do so. The historical defeat of universalism was not technical in character. Neither was it philosophical. Indeed, it was hardly more than the victory of technicism over the very possibility of a philosophical dispute (Sect. 3.2). (shrink)
Michael Tye argues for two crucial theses: (1) that experiences of pain have representational content (essentially); (2) that the representational content can be specified in terms of something like damage in parts of the body. (Different types of pain are connected with different types of damage.) I reject both of these theses. In my view experiences of pain carry nonconceptual content, but do not represent essentially. Rather they are apt to represent when the subject attends to them. The experiences (...) carry nonconceptual content not only about tissue damage, but about many other qualities as well, including dispositional qualities. (shrink)
For more than 100 years, anthropologists have collected ethnographic research among communities who assert that the spirits, animal allies, and other entities of the unseen world are “really real,” yet we have historically contextualized this information under the umbrella of cultural relativism rather than taking the veracity of these claims seriously. In the last decade, some anthropologists claim that our discipline has finally undergone an ontological turn, which opens a door for anthropologists to finally take claims of nonhuman sentience seriously (...) under the umbrella of ontological, rather than cultural, relativism. This paper takes issue with ontological relativism as just one more frame for explaining away the stories of other-than-human consciousness that ethnographers report and suggests that there is an urgent need to consider the relevance, rather than the relativism, of other-than-human consciousness. It looks to Michael Harner's work as a welcome alternative to ontological relativism and encourages opening our minds to a reconsideration of what is “really real.”. (shrink)
Van Heijenoort’s account of the historical development of modern logic was composed in 1974 and first published in 1992 with an introduction by his former student. What follows is a new edition with a revised and expanded introduction and additional notes.
The paper aims at drawing the main lines of a reflection about architectonic space, starting from the comparison between two hypothesis, as much as ever different: Theodor Lipps’ spatial aesthetics and Hans van der Laan’s elemental theory. The emphasis given by both authors to the intersection between directions and way, but also to the mutual subordination between thing and space, allows to rewrite the obituary of architecture as a spatial art, according to which the Modern Style has turned the spatiality (...) into its specular visibility, into the spaciousness, into the indefinite continuity of the Bigness. (shrink)
Imagine putting together a jigsaw puzzle that works like the board game in the movie “Jumanji”: When you finish, whatever the puzzle portrays becomes real. The children playing “Jumanji” learn to prepare for the reality that emerges from the next throw of the dice. But how would this work for the puzzle of scientific research? How do you prepare for unlocking the secrets of the atom, or assembling from the bottom-up nanotechnologies with unforeseen properties – especially when completion of such (...) puzzles lies decades after the first scattered pieces are tentatively assembled? In the inaugural issue of this journal, Michael Polanyi argued that because the progress of science is unpredictable, society must only move forward with solving the puzzle until the picture completes itself. Decades earlier, Frederick Soddy argued that once the potential for danger reveals itself, one must reorient the whole of one’s work to avoid it. While both scientists stake out extreme positions, Soddy’s approach – together with the action taken by the like-minded Leo Szilard – provides a foundation for the anticipatory governance of emerging technologies. This paper narrates the intertwining stories of Polanyi, Soddy and Szilard, revealing how anticipation influenced governance in the case of atomic weapons and how Polanyi’s claim in “The Republic of Science” of an unpredictable and hence ungovernable science is faulty on multiple levels. (shrink)
http://dx.doi.org/10.5007/1808-1711.2008v12n1p49 The aim of this article is to offer a rejoinder to an argument against scientific realism put forward by van Fraassen, based on theoretical considerations regarding microphysics. At a certain stage of his general attack to scientific realism, van Fraassen argues, in contrast to what realists typically hold, that empirical regularities should sometimes be regarded as “brute facts”, which do not ask for explanation in terms of deeper, unobservable mechanisms. The argument from microphysics formulated by van Fraassen is based (...) on the claim that in microphysics the demand for explanation leads to a demand for the so-called hidden-variable theories, which “runs contrary to at least one major school of thought in twentieth-century physics”. It is shown here that this argument does not represent an insurmountable obstacle to scientific realism, not even when a series of important theoretical and experimental results against hidden-variable theories — and not merely a conflict with a certain school of thought—is taken into account. (shrink)
http://dx.doi.org/10.5007/1808-1711.2008v12n2p121 O objetivo deste trabalho é discutir e desenvolver o diagnóstico que efetua van Fraassen (1987, p. 110) da lei de Hardy-Weinberg, de acordo coo qual esta: 1) não pode ser considerada uma lei a ser utilizada como un axioma da teoria genética de populações, pois é uma lei de equilíbrio que só vale sob certas condições especiais, 2) só determina uma subclasse de modelos, 3) sua generalização resulta vácua e 4) variantes complexas da lei podem ser deduzidas para pressupostos (...) mais realistas. A discussão e desenvolvimento deste diagnóstico será levada a cabo tomando como base noções propostas por outra das concepções semânticas afim daquela desenvolvida por van Fraassen, a saber: a concepção estruturalista das teorias, e uma reconstrução da genética clássica de populações no marco de uma tal metateoria, também apresentada neste trabalho. (shrink)
De acordo com a concepção dominante de causação, eventos espácio-temporalmente localizáveis que podem ser designados por termos singulares e descrições definidas são os únicos relata genuínos da relação causal. Isto dá apoio e é apoiado pela dicotomia aceita entre a explicação causal, concebida como uma relação intensional entre fatos ou verdades, e a relação natural e extensional da causação. O ensaio questiona este modo de ver e argumenta pela legitimidade da noção de causação por fatos: os relata de muitas relações (...) expressas pelo conector sentencial ‘(O fato) C causa (o fato) E’ podem ser causas e efeitos genuínos (I). Esta visão expandida da causação é então aplicada ao problema da causação mental. Assumindo a verdade do realizacionismo físico, o ensaio explora a conexão entre eficácia causal e relevância contrafactual de propriedades. Mostra-se que, pelo menos em muitos casos, as ligações contrafactuais corretas, requeridas pela causação, podem ser encontradas somente no nível dos fatos realizados, não no nível mais básico dos fatos realizadores (II). Finalmente, dadas as similaridades entre a defesa do fisicismo não-reducionista esboçada aqui e as tentativas menos modestas de justificação científica das pretensões do materialismo metafísico, justamente criticadas por van Fraassen como manifestações da ‘falsa consciência’, considera-se se e como a argumento principal do ensaio pode evitar o juízo crítico de van Fraassen (III). (shrink)
[Michael Friedman] This paper considers the extent to which Kant's vision of a distinctively 'transcendental' task for philosophy is essentially tied to his views on the foundations of the mathematical and physical sciences. Contemporary philosophers with broadly Kantian sympathies have attempted to reinterpret his project so as to isolate a more general philosophical core not so closely tied to the details of now outmoded mathematical-physical theories (Euclidean geometry and Newtonian physics). I consider two such attempts, those of Strawson and (...) McDowell, and argue that they fundamentally distort the original Kantian impulse. I then consider Buchdahl's attempt to preserve the link between Kantian philosophy and the sciences while simultaneously generalizing Kant's doctrines in light of later scientific developments. I argue that Buchdahl's view, while not adequate as in interpretation of Kant in his own eighteenth century context, is nonetheless suggestive of an historicized and relativized revision of Kantianism that can do justice to both Kant's original philosophical impulse and the radical changes in the sciences that have occurred since Kant's day. /// [Graham Bird] Michael Friedman criticises some recent accounts of Kant which 'detach' his transcendental principles from the sciences, and do so in order to evade naturalism. I argue that Friedman's rejection of that 'detachment' is ambiguous. In its strong form, which I claim Kant rejects, the principles of Euclidean geometry and Newtonian physics are represented as transcendental principles. In its weak form, which I believe Kant accepts, it treats those latter principles as higher order conditions of the possibility of both science and ordinary experience. I argue also that the appeal to naturalism is unhelpful because that doctrine is seriously unclear, and because the accounts Friedman criticises are open to objections independent of any appeal to naturalism. (shrink)
It is argued that, contrary to prevailing opinion, Bas van Fraassen nowhere uses the argument from underdetermination in his argument for constructive empiricism. It is explained that van Fraassen’s use of the notion of empirical equivalence in The Scientific Image has been widely misunderstood. A reconstruction of the main arguments for constructive empiricism is offered, showing how the passages that have been taken to be part of an appeal to the argument from underdetermination should actually be interpreted.
Over the last twenty years, Bas van Fraassen has developed a “new epistemology”: an attempt to sail between Bayesianism and traditional epistemology. He calls his own alternative “voluntarism”. A constant pillar of his thought is the thought that rationality involves permission rather than obligation. The present paper aims to offer an appraisal of van Fraassen’s conception of rationality. In section 2, I review the Bayesian structural conception of rationality and argue that it has been found wanting. In sections 3 and (...) 4, I analyse van Fraassen’s voluntarism. I raise some objections about van Fraassen’s reliance on prior opinion and argue that the content of a belief matters to its rationality. In section 5, I criticise van Fraassen’s view that inference to the best explanation is incoherent. Finally, in section 6, I take on van Fraassen’s conception of rationality and show that it is too thin to fully capture rational judgement. (shrink)
Projet En développant son « empirisme constructif », Bas Van Fraassen est devenu une référence incontournable pour la philosophie des sciences contemporaine. Après la vague de critiques qui, vers les années 1960, avait fait perdre à l'empirisme logique sa prédominance dans le champ des idées, le réalisme scientifique semblait s'être imposé comme le seul compte rendu acceptable du travail et des orientations de la recherche. Quine avait beau énoncer ce que pourrait être un empirisme affranchi de ses deux « dogmes (...) » (l'intangibilité de la distinction vérités analytiques / vérités synthétiques, et la réduction des constructions aux « faits »), le programme d'une philosophie des sciences empiriste renouvelée restait à l'état d'esquisse. Mais par trois ouvrages successifs, Scientific Image (1980), Laws and symmetry (1989), et Quantum mechanics an empiricist view (1991), Van Fraassen a posé les bases d'un empirisme viable, parce que capable de prendre en charge la plupart des spécificités dont se prévaut le réalisme contre l'empirisme classique ou logique, et de rendre raison des développements les plus actuels de la physique. Contre l'empirisme classique ou logique, les réalistes font d'abord valoir que la réduction de toute réalité et de tout acte de référence aux phénomènes, ne rend justice ni à la pratique du langage courant ni à celle des sciences. Lorsque quelqu'un procède à une dénomination, il ne cherche pas à désigner par là une tranche d'apparaître, ou quelque ensemble fini et répertorié d'apparitions; il pointe vers "quelque chose" dont les modalités de manifestation sans fin assignable sont pour partie anticipées et pour partie ouvertes. De même, quand un chercheur scientifique parle de l'objet de ses investigations, il ne limite pas son discours à un ensemble fini de résultats d'expérience obtenus sous des conditions instrumentales actuellement disponibles; il renvoie à une entité dont la variété des manifestations futures est prévue aussi complètement que possible (et avec un succès croissant) par des cadres conceptuels et théoriques révisables. Face à cette objection, Van Fraassen fait jouer un rôle capital aux modèles dans sa version de l'empirisme.. (shrink)
In May 2010, philosophers, family and friends gathered at the University of Notre Dame to celebrate the career and retirement of Alvin Plantinga, widely recognized as one of the world's leading figures in metaphysics, epistemology, and the philosophy of religion. Plantinga has earned particular respect within the community of Christian philosophers for the pivotal role that he played in the recent renewal and development of philosophy of religion and philosophical theology. Each of the essays in this volume engages with some (...) particular aspect of Plantinga's views on metaphysics, epistemology, or philosophy of religion. Contributors include Michael Bergman, Ernest Sosa, Trenton Merricks, Richard Otte, Peter VanInwagen, Thomas P. Flint, Eleonore Stump, Dean Zimmerman and Nicholas Wolterstorff. The volume also includes responses to each essay by Bas van Fraassen, Stephen Wykstra, David VanderLaan, Robin Collins, Raymond VanArragon, E. J. Coffman, Thomas Crisp, and Donald Smith. (shrink)
This paper deals with Ludwik Fleck’s theory of thought styles and Michael Polanyi’s theory of tacit knowledge. Though both concepts have been very influential for science studies in general, and both have been subject to numerous interpretations, their accounts have, somewhat surprisingly, hardly been comparatively analyzed. Both Fleck and Polanyi relied on the physiology and psychology of the senses in order to show that scientific knowledge follows less the path of logical principles than the path of accepting or rejecting (...) specific conventions, where these may be psychologically or sociologically grounded. It is my aim to show that similarities and differences between Fleck and Polanyi are to be seen in the specific historical and political context in which they worked. Both authors, I shall argue, emphasized the relevance of perception in close connection to their respective understanding of science, freedom, and democracy. (shrink)
Considering Pragma-Dialectics honors the monumental contributions of one of the foremost international figures in current argumentation scholarship: Frans van Eemeren. The volume presents the research efforts of his colleagues and addresses how their work relates to the pragma-dialectical theory of argumentation with which van Eemeren’s name is so intimately connected. This tribute serves to highlight the varied approaches to the study of argumentation and is destined to inspire researchers to advance scholarship in the field far into the (...) future. Replete with contributions from highly-esteemed academics in argumentation study, chapters in this volume address such topics as: *Pragma-dialectic versus epistemic theories of arguing and arguments; *Pragma-dialectics and self-advocacy in physician-patient interactions; *The pragma-dialectical analysis of the ad hominem family; *Rhetoric, dialectic, and the functions of argument; and *The semantics of reasonableness. As an exceptional volume and a fitting tribute, this work will be of interest to all argumentation scholars considering the astute insights and scholarly legacy of Frans van Eemeren. (shrink)
Michael Walzer is currently at the School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, New Jersey. Professor Walzer has written Just and Unjust Wars; The Revolution of the Saints and has edited Toward A Global Civil Society. In this interview, he discusses some of the current concerns about education, political theory and the current state of the art of toleration, and acceptance and accommodation of different racial, ethnic, social and minority groups. He has published extensively and his (...) work has been translated in several other languages. In this interview, he responds to questions about his work, his writings and his current concerns. (shrink)
Analysis shows that statements of ability are disguised conditionals. More exactly, the correct analysis of 'X could have done A' is 'If X h decided (chosen, willed ...) to do A, X would have done A'. Therefore having acted freely--having been able to act otherwise than one fact did--is compatible with determinism (with the causal determination of one's acts).
Van Gelder identifies the notion of a dynamical system with that of a quantitative system. According to an alternative view, a dynamical system is a state-determined system. This suggests a more profitable way to understand the roles of computation and dynamics in cognitive explanation.
Mijn wetenschappelijke bijdrage sluit aan bij het stuk van Jan Willem Klop in deze zelfde afscheidsbundel, dat ik van Jan Willem onder embargo te lezen heb gekregen. Je zult je herinneren dat Jan Willem in de CWI lezing ter gelegenheid van zijn eredoctoraat kort refereerde aan de Thue Morse reeks. Noem deze reeks M . Jan Willem gaf de versie die start met 1. Noem het resultaat van omwisselen van nullen en enen in de Thue Morse reeks M . De (...) reeks M is wat je krijgt als je het Thue Morse proces start met 0. (shrink)
Metaphysics: Contemporary Readings is a comprehensive anthology that draws together leading philosophers writing on the major themes in Metaphysics. Chapters appear under the headings: Universals Particulars Modality and Possible Worlds Causation Time Persistence Realism and Anti-Realism Each section is prefaced by an introductory essay by the editor which guides students gently into each topic. Articles by the following leading philosophers are included: Allaire, Anscombe, Armstrong, Black, Broad, Casullo, Dummett, Ewing, Heller, Hume, Kripke, Lewis, Mackie, McTaggart, Mellor, Merricks , Parfit, Plantinga, (...) Price, Prior, Putnam, Quine, Russell, Smart, Swinburne, Taylor , Van Cleve, van Inwagen, Williams Featuring a new section on causation, this new edition is highly accessible and provides a broad-ranging exploration of the subject. Ideal for any philosophy student, this reader will prove essential reading for any metaphysics course. The sections and selections of readings have been updated to complement Michael Loux's textbook Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction , third edition. (shrink)
In this paper, the author defends Peter van Inwagen’s modal skepticism. Van Inwagen accepts that we have much basic, everyday modal knowledge, but denies that we have the capacity to justify philosophically interesting modal claims that are far removed from this basic knowledge. The author also defends the argument by means of which van Inwagen supports his modal skepticism, offering a rebuttal to an objection along the lines of that proposed by Geirrson. Van Inwagen argues that Stephen Yablo’s recent and (...) influential account of the relationship between conceivability and possibility supports his skeptical claims. The author’s defence involves a creative interpretation and development of Yablo’s account, which results in a recursive account of modal epistemology, what the author calls the “safe explanation” theory of modal epistemology. (shrink)
In his widely influential statement of just war theory, Michael Walzer exempts conscripted soldiers from all responsibility for taking part in war, whether just or unjust (the thesis of the moral equality of soldiers). He endows the overwhelming majority of civilians with almost absolute immunity from military attack on the ground that they aren't responsible for the war their country is waging, whether just or unjust. I argue that Walzer is much too lenient on both soldiers and civilians. Soldiers (...) fighting for a just cause and soldiers fighting for an unjust one are not morally equal. A substantial proportion of civilians in a democracy are responsible, to a significant degree, for their country's unjust war. Moreover, under certain (admittedly rare) circumstances, some of them are legitimate targets of military attack. This has bearing on settling moral accounts in the wake of war and the issue of forgiving the wrongs done in its course: possible candidates for such forgiveness are much more numerous than is usually assumed. (shrink)
This entry sketches the theory of personal identity that has come to be known as animalism. Animalism’s hallmark claim is that each of us is identical with a human animal. Moreover, animalists typically claim that we could not exist except as animals, and that the (biological) conditions of our persistence derive from our status as animals. Prominent advocates of this view include Michael Ayers, Eric Olson, Paul Snowdon, Peter van Inwagen, and David Wiggins.
Metaphysics: 5 Questions is a collection of short interviews based on 5 questions presented to some of the most influential and prominent philosophers in the field. We hear their views on metaphysics, the aim, the scope, the future direction of research and how their work fits in these respects. Interviews with Lynne Rudder Baker, Helen Beebee, Thomas Hofweber, Hugh Mellor, Peter Menzies, Stephen Mumford, Daniel Nolan, Eric T.Olson, L. A. Paul, Lorenz B. Puntel, Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra, Gideon Rosen, Jonathan Schaffer, Peter (...) Simons, Barry Smith, Michael Tooley, Peter van Inwagen, Dean Zimmerman. (shrink)
Constructive empiricism is supposed to offer a positive alternative to scientific realism that dispenses with the need for metaphysics. I first review the terms of the debate before arguing that the standard objections to constructive empiricism are not decisive. I then explain van Fraassen's views on modality and counterfactuals, and argue that, because constructive empiricism recommends on epistemological grounds belief in the empirical adequacy rather than the truth of theories, it requires that there be an objective modal distinction between the (...) observable and the unobservable. This conclusion is incompatible with van Fraassen's empiricism. Finally I explain some further problems for constructive empiricism that arise when we consider modal matters. (shrink)
SURVEYS (a) David Lewis, Parts of Classes (Blackwell, Oxford, 1991), §§3.4–3.6 (pp. 72–87) (b) Achille Varzi, ‘Mereology’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, http:// plato.stanford.edu/entries/mereology/. (c) Michael C. Rea (ed.), Material Constitu- tion (Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD, 1997), esp. the introduction. (d) van Cleve and Markosian, ‘Mereology’, Theodore Sider, John Hawthorne, and Dean W. Zimmerman (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Metaphysics (Blackwell, Oxford, 2007), ch. 8, pp. 319–63. (e) Peter M. Simons, Parts: A Study in Ontology (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1987).
Hilary Putnam and Bas C. van Fraassen have been two pivotal figures in the scientific realism debate in the second half of the twentieth century. Their initial perspectives were antithetical—defining an archetypical scientific realist position (Putnam) and a major empiricism-inspired alternative to scientific realism (van Fraassen). But as the years (and the philosophical debates) went on, there have been important lines of convergence in the stances of these two thinkers, mostly motivated by an increasing flirting with pragmatism and by a (...) growing disdain towards metaphysics. Putnam’s views went through two major turns, in a philosophical journey he aptly described as taking him “from realism back to realism” (1994, 494). Being an arch scientific realist in the 1960s and the early 1970s, he moved to a trenchant critique of metaphysical realism and the adoption of a verificationist-‘internalist’ approach (what he called pragmatic or internal realism), which he upheld roughly until the end of the twentieth century. Then he adopted a direct realist outlook, what he called “common sense” or “natural realism”, which was based on the denial of at least some of the tenets of his internalist period (e.g., the abandonment of a verificationist conception of truth), while at the same time tried to avoid “the phantasies of metaphysical realism”. It is (almost) impossible to cover all aspects of Putnam’s realist endeavours. I will therefore focus on his changing views about scientific realism. Van Fraassen occupied a space in the scientific realism debate that was left vacant by Putnam’s critique of fictionalism and verificationism, viz., an agnostic stance towards the ontological commitments of literally understood scientific theories. His positive alternative to realism, Constructive Empiricism (CE), was meant to be a position suitable for post-positivist empiricists, that is philosophers who a) take for granted the empiricist dictum that all (substantive) knowledge stems from experience; b) take science seriously (but not uncritically) as the paradigm of rational inquiry; and c) take to heart all criticism of the positivist approach to science, bound as it was to issues concerning the language of theories and the privileging of an alleged theory-neutral observational vocabulary.. (shrink)
Bas van Fraassen claims that constructive empiricism strikes a balance between the empiricist's commitments to epistemic modesty -- that one's opinion should extend no further beyond the deliverances of experience than is necessary -- and to the rationality of science. In "Should the Empiricist be a Constructive Empiricist?" I argued that if the constructive empiricist follows through on her commitment to epistemic modesty she will find herself adopting a much more extreme position than van Fraassen suggests. Van Fraassen and Bradley (...) Monton have recently responded. My purpose here is to contest their response. The goal is not merely the rebuttal of a rebuttal; there is a lesson to learn concerning the realist/anti-realist dialectic generated by van Fraassen's view. (shrink)
In this paper, I will discuss three arguments which have been advanced by three of the most important recent analytic philosophers: Willard Van Orman Quine, Hilary Putnam, and Michael Dummett. Each argument is central to the views of the philosopher in question, and each leads to sweeping and, to my mind, highly implausible conclusions concerning the content of our thoughts about the world. The philosophers in question claim, of course, that these implications should be accepted, but few others have (...) been willing to follow them in this. At the same time, however, there has been no very widespread agreement on where and how the arguments go wrong. My view is that they are best viewed as reductions to absurdity of their premises and of one underlying premise in particular.  But just which premise is at fault is not, perhaps, immediately obvious. I will have more to say about that after we have had an initial look at the arguments. (shrink)
In the 82/2 (2000) issue of this journal, Michael Friedman has offered a stimulating discussion of my recent book, Kant and the Capacity to Judge. His conclusion is that on the whole I fail to do justice to what is most revolutionary about Kant's natural philosophy, and instead end up attributing to Kant a pre-Newtonian, Aristotelian philosophy of nature. This is because, according to Friedman, I put excessive weight on Kant's claim to have derived his categories from a set (...) of logical forms of judgment which he inherits from a traditional Aristotelian logic. In taking Kant at his word on this point, I fail to give their full import to Kant's insights into the newly discovered applications of mathematical concepts and methods to the science of nature. (shrink)
In this exciting new collection, a distinguished international group of philosophers contribute new essays on central issues in philosophy of language and logic, in honor of Michael Dummett, one of the most influential philosophers of the late twentieth century. The essays are focused on areas particularly associated with Professor Dummett. Five are contributions to the philosophy of language, addressing in particular the nature of truth and meaning and the relation between language and thought. Two contributors discuss time, in particular (...) the reality of the past. The last four essays focus on Frege and the philosophy of mathematics. The volume represents some of the best work in contemporary analytical philosophy. (shrink)
Virtue ethics is now well established as a substantive, independent normative theory. It was not always so. The revival of virtue ethics was initially spurred by influential criticisms of other normative theories, especially those made by Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, John McDowell, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Bernard Williams. 1 Because of this heritage, virtue ethics is often associated with anti-theory movements in ethics and more recently, moral particularism. There are, however, quite a few different approaches to ethics that can reasonably claim (...) to be versions of virtue ethics. The predominant strand of virtue ethics is broadly Aristotelian, although some accounts bear little resemblance to Aristotle's. In its most general form, virtue ethics is compatible with a wide range of meta-ethical and normative commitments. This diversity makes it difficult to compare virtue ethics as such with other normative theories. It can also be a challenge to see just what the various versions of virtue ethics have in common with each other. Three major types of virtue ethics are represented in the books by Rosalind Hursthouse, Michael Slote, and Christine Swanton, recommended in the following section. Each of these book sets forward a considerably self-standing form of virtue ethics. The authors differ on central issues such as the relationship between virtue and flourishing and the link between virtuous agents and right or virtuous actions. Unlike Swanton and Slote, Hursthouse defends a version of ethical naturalism that has affinities with theories recently defended by Philippa Foot and Alasdair MacIntyre. 2 Slote's theory is agent-based, meaning that his account derives judgments about the moral status of actions from moral features of agents. Hursthouse and Swanton defend theories according to which the moral status of an action depends on its broader relationship to human flourishing (Hursthouse) or whether it hits the target of a virtue (Swanton). Although these three books presently form the core of contemporary virtue ethics, there are other approaches that might reasonably be described as versions of virtue ethics, such as those presented by Julia Driver, Linda Zagzebski, and Robert Adams. 3 There are also, of course, a large number of articles in which authors defend or criticize tenets that are central to most versions of virtue ethics. Some recent articles on especially important topics are listed in the following section. Current 'hot topics' in virtue ethics include whether its account of right action is adequate and whether virtue ethics is at odds with empirical psychology. Articles on these debates and others are listed in the following section. Author Recommends: Books These three books are foundational works in contemporary virtue ethics, and represent quite different approaches to virtue ethics. For each book, I have also listed an article by the same author in which he or she articulates some similar themes. Those pressed for time or space on a syllabus might start by examining those articles. 1. Hursthouse, Rosalind. On Virtue Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Hursthouse defends a eudaimonistic version of virtue ethics with Aristotelian affinities. *See also Hursthouse, Rosalind. 'Normative Virtue Ethics.' How Should One Live? Ed. Roger Crisp. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996. 19–36. 2. Slote, Michael. Morals from Motives. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Slote defends a version of virtue ethics based on evaluations of motives, drawing on historical figures like Martineau, Hutcheson, and Hume. Note that this book represents a fairly significant departure from his first book in virtue ethics, From Morality to Virtue (New York: Oxford, 1992). *See also Slote, Michael. 'Agent-Based Virtue Ethics.' Virtue Ethics . Ed. Roger Crisp and Michael Slote. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. 3. Swanton, Christine. Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. Swanton defends a pluralistic, non-eudaimonistic version of virtue ethics that draws on influences ranging from Aristotle to Nietzsche to contemporary psychoanalytic theory. *See also Swanton, Christine. 'A Virtue Ethical Account of Right Action.' Ethics 112 (2001): 32–52. Articles The following is a selection of articles that address some of the central and controversial topics within virtue ethics. 1. Annas, Julia. 'Being Virtuous and Doing the Right Thing.' Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 78.2 (2004): 61–75. This article addresses the problem of action guidance and the role that an account of right action should play in virtue ethics. 2. Conly, Sarah. 'Flourishing and the Failure of the Ethics of Virtue.' Midwest Studies in Philosophy Vol. XIII, Ethical Theory: Character and Virtue . Eds. P. French et al. South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988. 83–96. This article articulates the central problems faced by versions of virtue ethics that rely on a conception of human flourishing. 3. Das, Ramon. 'Virtue Ethics and Right Action.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2003): 324–39. This article raises objections about insularity and circularity to accounts of right action presented by Hursthouse, Slote, and Swanton. 4. Doris, John M. 'Persons, Situations, and Virtue Ethics.' Nous 32 (1998): 504–30. This article argues that situationist psychology undermines the concept of a character trait on which virtue ethicists rely. An expanded version of this criticism can be found in Doris, Lack of Character, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. 5. Hursthouse, Rosalind. 'Virtue Theory and Abortion.' Philosophy and Public Affairs 20.3 (1991): 223–46. This article argues that virtue ethics is capable of providing action guidance in the difficult problem of abortion. 6. Johnson, Robert N. 'Virtue and Right.' Ethics 113 (2003): 810–34. This article raises several objections against the accounts of right action in virtue ethics, one of which is that they cannot make sense of the rightness of self-improving actions. The criticism is directly primarily at Hursthouse's theory, but Swanton and Slote are discussed as well. 7. Kamtekar, Rachana. 'Situationism and Virtue Ethics on the Content of Our Character.' Ethics 114 (2004): 458–91. This article argues that situationist critiques of virtue ethics rely on a mistaken understanding of virtuous character. 8. Kawall, Jason. 'Virtue Theory and Ideal Observers.' Philosophical Studies 109 (2002): 197– 222. This article argues for an ideal observer-style account of right action in virtue ethics. 9. Nussbaum, Martha. 'Non-Relative Virtues: An Aristotelian Approach.' Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Vol. XIII, Ethical Theory: Character and Virtue . Ed. P. French et al. South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988. 32–53. This article presents a view of the virtues on which the virtues are excellences in spheres of activity. Although the spheres are common to all humans, the manifestation of excellence in a given sphere is subject to cultural variation. 10. Sreenivasan, Gopal. 'Errors about Errors: Virtue Theory and Trait Attribution.' Mind 111 (2002): 47–68. This article addresses the situationist critique of character traits by arguing that virtue ethics does not depend on the concept of a character trait as Doris and others understand it. 11. Stangl, Rebecca. 'A Dilemma for Particularist Virtue Ethics.' Philosophical Quarterly 58 (2008): 665–78. This article addresses the relationship between virtue ethics and radical moral particularism, arguing that the latter may have undesirable consequences for virtue ethicists unless they accept the unity of the virtues. 12. Stohr, Karen. 'Contemporary Virtue Ethics.' Philosophy Compass 1.1 (January 2006): 22–7. This article provides an overview and analysis of contemporary virtue ethics. It includes discussion of main problems and challenges for the future. 13. Stohr, Karen. 'Moral Cacophony: When Continence is a Virtue.' Journal of Ethics 7 (2003): 339–63. This article raises problems for the commonly accepted distinction between virtue and continence, arguing that the mixed emotions normally associated with continence are sometimes characteristic of virtue instead. 14. van Zyl, Liezl. 'Agent-Based Virtue Ethics and the Problem of Action Guidance.' Journal of Moral Philosophy 6 (2009): 50–69. This article defends agent-based virtue ethics against objections that it cannot distinguish agent-appraisal from act-appraisal and that it cannot provide adequate action guidance. Anthologies 1. Crisp, Roger, ed. How Should One Live? Essays on the Virtues. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996. This is one of the first virtue ethics anthologies published, and so reflects a correspondingly earlier picture of the field. The essays, however, are important and interesting in their own right, and cover a broad array of topics. 2. Crisp, Roger and Michael Slote, eds. Virtue Ethics . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997. This anthology was published over a decade ago and does not capture recent developments in the field. It is, however, an admirably thorough collection of the most influential essays from the early days of virtue ethics, both promoting and criticizing it. 3. Darwall, Stephen, ed. Virtue Ethics. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003. This anthology is distinctive in that it includes material from Aristotle, Hutcheson, and Hume, along with some central contemporary sources. 4. Walker, Rebecca L. and Philip J. Ivanhoe, eds. Working Virtue. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. This recent anthology focuses on applied virtue ethics and has an excellent selection of essays by influential thinkers on topics including the environment, business, medicine, war, and poverty. Online Sources 'Virtue Ethics', Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ethics-virtue/ Entry written by Rosalind Hursthouse and updated in 2007. 'Bibliography on Virtue Ethics', maintained by Jörg Schroth. http://www.ethikseite.de/bib/cvirtue.pdf Extensive list of work published in virtue ethics. Updated regularly, listed in both alphabetical and chronological order, and contains abstracts of papers. 'Janusblog', maintained by Guy Axtell. http://janusblog.squarespace.com/ Blog devoted to current work in virtue ethics and virtue epistemology, although with an emphasis on the latter. It contains spirited discussion among the many contributors, as well as a library of papers. Sample Syllabus This syllabus is for a graduate seminar or intense upper-level undergraduate course. Books for purchase for this course might include the Crisp and Slote anthology, the Walker and Ivanhoe anthology, and Hursthouse's On Virtue Ethics. Week 1: The Roots of Contemporary Virtue Ethics Anscombe, Elizabeth. 'Modern Moral Philosophy' (Crisp and Slote) Foot, Philippa. 'Virtues and Vices' (Crisp and Slote) MacIntyre, Alasdair. 'The Nature of the Virtues' (Crisp and Slote) Week 2: The Roots of Contemporary Virtue Ethics Stocker, Michael. 'The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories' (Crisp and Slote) Williams, Bernard. 'Morality, the Peculiar Institution' (Crisp and Slote) McDowell, John. 'Virtue and Reason' (Crisp and Slote) Week 3: Aristotelian Virtue Ethics Hursthouse, Rosalind. On Virtue Ethics, Part I Hursthouse, Rosalind. 'Practical Wisdom: A Mundane Account.' Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 106.3 (2006): 283–307. Stangl, Rebecca. 'A Dilemma for Particularist Virtue Ethics' Week 4: Aristotelian Virtue Ethics Hursthouse, Rosalind. On Virtue Ethics, Part II Stark, Susan. 'Virtue and Emotion.' Nous 33.5 (2001): 440–55. Stohr, Karen. 'Moral Cacophony: When Continence is a Virtue' Week 5: Aristotelian Virtue Ethics Hursthouse, Rosalind. On Virtue Ethics, Part III Conly, Sarah. 'Flourishing and the Failure of an Ethics of Virtue' Nussbaum, Martha. 'Non-Relative Virtues: An Aristotelian Approach' MacIntyre, Alasdair. Dependent Rational Animals, chapter 10 Week 6: Agent-Based Virtue Ethics Slote, Michael 'Agent-Based Virtue Ethics' (Crisp and Slote) Slote, Michael, Morals from Motives, chapters 1 and 3 Week 7: Pluralistic Virtue Ethics Swanton, Christine. Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View , chapters 3, 4, and 11. Week 8: The Situationist Critique of Virtue Ethics Doris, John. 'Persons, Situations, and Virtue Ethics' Kamtekar, Rachana. 'Situationism and Virtue Ethics on the Content of Our Character' Sreenivasan, Gopal. 'Errors about Errors: Virtue Theory and Trait Attribution' Merritt, Maria. 'Aristotelian Virtue and the Interpersonal Aspect of Ethical Character.' Journal of Moral Philosophy 6 (2009): 23–49. Week 11: Right Action – Problems Johnson, Robert. 'Virtue and Right' Das, Ramon. 'Virtue Ethics and Right Action' Week 12: Right Action – Virtue Ethics Solutions Annas, Julia. 'Being Virtuous and Doing the Right Thing' van Zyl, Liezl. 'Agent-Based Virtue Ethics and the Problem of Action Guidance' Kawall, Jason. 'Virtue Theory and Ideal Observers' Week 13: Virtue Ethics and Professional Roles Pelligrino, Edmund. 'Professing Medicine, Virtue Based Ethics, and the Retrieval of Professionalism' (Walker and Ivanhoe) Swanton, Christine. 'Virtue Ethics, Role Ethics, and Business Ethics' (Walker and Ivanhoe) Sherman, Nancy. 'Virtue and a Warrier's Anger' (Walker and Ivanhoe) Week 14: Virtue Ethics and the Non-Human World Hursthouse, Rosalind. 'Environmental Virtue Ethics' (Walker and Ivanhoe) Walker, Rebecca. 'The Good Life for Non-Human Animals: What Virtue Requires of Humans' (Walker and Ivanhoe) Focus Questions 1. What is the relationship between virtue and flourishing? Are the virtues necessary for flourishing? Sufficient? 2. Can virtue ethics provide an adequate account of right action? 3. On what concept of a character trait does virtue ethics rely, and does situationist psychology undermine it? 4. Is the project of ethical naturalism a plausible one? To what extent does the success of Aristotelian virtue ethics depend on it? 5. How does virtue ethics affect the way that applied ethics is done? (shrink)
A companion volume to Free Will: A Philosophical Study , this new anthology collects influential essays on free will, including both well-known contemporary classics and exciting recent work. Agency and Responsibility: Essays on the Metaphysics of Freedom is divided into three parts. The essays in the first section address metaphysical issues concerning free will and causal determinism. The second section groups papers presenting a positive account of the nature of free action, including competing compatibilist and incompatibilist analyses. The third section (...) concerns free will and moral responsibility, including theories of moral responsibility and the challenge to an alternative possibilities condition posed by Frankurt-type scenarios. Distinguished by its balance and consistently high quality, the volume presents papers selected for their significance, innovation, and clarity of expression. Contributors include Harry Frankfurt, Peter van Inwagen, David Lewis, Elizabeth Anscombe, John Martin Fischer, Michael Bratman, Roderick Chisholm, Robert Kane, Peter Strawson, and Susan Wolf. The anthology serves as an up-to-date resource for scholars as well as a useful text for courses in ethics, philosophy of religion, or metaphysics. In addition, paired with Free Will: A Philosophical Study, it would form an excellent upper-level undergraduate or graduate-level course in free will, responsibility, motivation, or action theory. (shrink)
In this three-part paper, my concern is to expound and defend a conception of science, close to Einstein's, which I call aim-oriented empiricism. I argue that aim-oriented empiricsim has the following virtues. (i) It solve the problem of induction; (ii) it provides decisive reasons for rejecting van Fraassen's brilliantly defended but intuitively implausible constructive empiricism; (iii) it solves the problem of verisimilitude, the problem of explicating what it can mean to speak of scientific progress given that science advances from one (...) false theory to another; (iv) it enables us to hold that appropriate scientific theories, even though false, can nevertheless legitimately be interpreted realistically, as providing us with genuine , even if only approximate, knowledge of unobservable physical entities; (v) it provies science with a rational, even though fallible and non-mechanical, method for the discovery of fundamental new theories in physics. In the third part of the paper I show that Einstein made essential use of aim-oriented empiricism in scientific practice in developing special and general relativity. I conclude by considering to what extent Einstein came explicitly to advocate aim-oriented empiricism in his later years. (shrink)
This paper criticizes the dominant approaches to presupposition projection and proposes an alternative. Both the update semantics of Heim and the discourse representation theory of van der Sandt have problems in explicating the presuppositions of disjunctions. Moreover, Heim's approach is committed to a conception of accommodation that founders on the problem of informative presuppositions, and van der Sandt's approach is committed to a conception of accommodation that generates over-interpretations of utterances. The present approach borrows Karttunen's idea that instead of associating (...) presuppositions with sentences, we should define the conditions that contexts must meet in order to satisfy-the-presuppositions-of a sentence. However, in place of Karttunen's conception of contexts in terms of common ground, the present theory substitutes a conception of contexts as objective entities that are independent of the attitudes of the interlocutors. Contexts, so conceived, may be defined as containing sets of relevant possibilities. This allows us to define the conditions under which a context satisfies-the-presuppositions-of a disjunction. (shrink)
Although it goes against a widespread significant misunderstanding of his view, Michael Smith is one of the very few moral philosophers who explicitly wants to allow for the commonsense claim that, while morally required action is always favored by some reason, selfish and immoral action can also be rationally permissible. One point of this paper is to make it clear that this is indeed Smith’s view. It is a further point to show that his way of accommodating this claim (...) is inconsistent with his well-known “practicality requirement” on moral judgments: the thesis that any rational person will always have at least some motivation to do what she judges to be right. The general conclusion is that no view that, like Smith’s, associates the normative strength of a reason with the motivational strength of an ideal desire will allow for the wide range of rational permissibility that Smith wants to capture. (shrink)
Peter van Inwagen's brand of materialism leads him to speculate that God actually removes the deceased at the moment of death and replaces the corpse with a simulacrum that decays or is cremated. Dean Zimmerman offers an account of resurrection that is loyal to Peter van Inwagen's commitment to a materialist metaphysics, with its stress on the earlier life processes of an organism immanently causing its later ones, while maintaining that resurrection is possible without involving God in any ‘body snatching’. (...) My contention is that Zimmerman's account is metaphysically impossible. His alleged ‘solution’ is at odds with the principles governing the ways in which an organism can assimilate new parts. Instead of providing a scenario where we can be resurrected, Zimmerman has merely sketched a scenario where we are duplicated. An alternative materialist account of resurrection is offered, one in which immanent causation is not necessary. (shrink)
First, I'd like to thank Professors Van Till, Pun, and McMullin for their careful and thoughtful replies. There is a deep level of agreement among all four of us; as is customary with replies and replies to replies, however, I shall concentrate on our areas of disagreement. In the cases of Van Till and McMullin, this may give an impression of deeper disagreement than actually exists. In the case of Pun it leaves me with little to say except Yea and (...) Amen; I find no serious disagreement between us. (shrink)
Peter van Inwagen's Direct Argument (DA) for incompatibilism purports to establish incompatibilism with respect to moral responsibility and determinism without appealing to assumptions that compatibilists usually consider controversial. Recently, Michael McKenna has presented a novel critique of DA. McKenna's critique raises important issues about philosophical dialectics. In this article, we address those issues and contend that his argument does not succeed.
In Consciousness and persons, Michael Tye (Tye, M. (2003). Consciousness and persons. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.) develops and defends a novel approach to the unity of consciousness. Rather than thinking of the unity of consciousness as involving phenomenal relations between distinct experiences, as standard accounts do, Tye argues that we should regard the unity of consciousness as involving relations between the contents of consciousness. Having developed an account of what it is for consciousness to be unified, Tye goes on (...) to apply his account of the unity of consciousness to the split-brain syndrome. I provide a critical evaluation of Tye's account of the unity of consciousness and the split-brain syndrome. (shrink)
We often speak of an object being composed of various other objects. We say that the deck is composed of the cards, that a road is the sum total of its sections, that a house is composed of its walls, ceilings, floors, doors, etc. Suppose we have some material objects. Here is a philosophical question: what conditions must obtain for those objects to compose something? In his recent book Material Beings, Peter van Inwagen addresses this question, which he calls the (...) ‘special composition question’; his answer is:1 (1) For any material objects X , the X s compose something iff the activity of the X s constitutes a life, or there is only one of the Xs. Additionally, he accepts a simpler thesis that follows from (1):2 (2) Every material object is either a mereological atom or a living thing, where a mereological atom is an object lacking proper parts. (2) may seem radical. If it is true then there are no tables, chairs, planets, protons, galaxies, gas stations, etc. But van Inwagen does not hold it lightly— there are serious difficulties with alternate views. Moreover, he claims that.. (shrink)
Our world is a world of change. Children are born and grow into adults. Material possessions rust and decay with age and ultimately perish. Yet scepticism about change is as old as philosophy itself. Heraclitus, for example, argued that nothing could survive the replacement of parts, so that it is impossible to step into the same river twice. Zeno argued that motion is paradoxical, so that nothing can alter its location. Parmenides and his followers went even further, arguing that the (...) very concept of qualitative change is inconsistent. Change in any respect is impossible, they argued, as change requires difference and nothing differs from itself. Few today would accept the Eleatic conclusion that change is impossible. But the topic of change continues to be a source of much debate, as it brings together various issues that are central to metaphysics, language, and logic – including identity, persistence, time, tense, and temporal logic. Author Recommends Wasserman, Ryan. 'The Problem of Change.' Philosophy Compass 1 (2006): 1–10. This article presents the problem of change and provides a brief survey of potential solutions. Haslanger, Sally. 'Persistence Through Time.' The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics . Eds. M. Loux and D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. This article presents the problem of change and provides a detailed survey of potential solutions. Heller, Mark. 'Things Change.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (1992): 695–704. This article presents, explains, and defends the temporal parts solution to the problem of change. Hinchliff, Mark. 'The Puzzle of Change.' Philosophical Perspectives 10 (1996): 119–36. This article presents, explains, and defends the presentist solution to the problem of change. Wasserman, Ryan. 'The Argument from Temporary Intrinsics.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2003): 413–19. This article presents, explains, and defends the relationist solution to the problem of change. Sider, Theodore. Four-Dimensionalism . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. This book provides an introduction to various issues related to the problem of change, including the nature of time, tense, and persistence. Chapter 5 presents, explains, and defends the stage-view solution to the problem of change. Online Materials Change. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/change/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on change, by Chris Mortensen. Time. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/time/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on time, by Ned Markosian. Temporal Parts. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/temporal-parts/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on temporal parts, by Katherine Hawley. Material Constitution. URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/material-constitution/ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on material constitution, by Ryan Wasserman. Persistence Bibliography. URL: http://tedsider.org/teaching/pp_bibliography.pdf A bibliography on change and related issues, by Theodore Sider. Sample Syllabus Books on Syllabus Rea, Michael. Material Constitution: A Reader . Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997. Sider, Theodore. Four-Dimensionalism . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. 2008. Metaphysics: The Big Questions . 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. Week 1: Time and Tense Four-Dimensionalism , chapters 1 and 2. Markosian, Ned. 'A Defence of Presentism.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics, Volume 1. Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004: 47–82. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 116-123. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 124-129. Week 2: Time and Persistence Four-Dimensionalism , chapter 3. McGrath, Matthew. 'Temporal Parts.' Philosophy Compass 2 (2007): 730–48. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 265-267. Hawthorne, J, Scala, M., and Wasserman, R. 'Recombination, Humean Supervenience, and Causal Constraints: An Argument for Temporal Parts?' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics , Volume 1. Ed. D. Zimmerman, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004: 301-318. Week 3: Change and Presentism In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 141-149. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 267-269. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 269-281. Week 4: Change and Temporal Parts Four-Dimensionalism , pp. 92–8. Heller, Mark. 'Things Change.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 52 (1992): 695–704. Lombard, Lawrence. 'The Doctrine of Temporal Parts and the "No Change" Objection.' Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 54 (1994): 365–72. Week 5: Change, Relationism, and Adverbialism Hawley, Katherine. 'Why Temporary Properties are not Relations between Physical Objects and Times.' Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 98 (1998): 211–16. Wasserman, Ryan. 'The Argument from Temporary Intrinsics.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (2003): 413–19. Lewis, David. 'Tensing the Copula.' Mind 111 (2002): 1–13. Caplan, Ben. 'Why so Tense about the Copula?' Mind 114 (2007): 703–8. Week 6: Change and Tropes Ehring, Douglas. 'Lewis, Temporary Intrinsics and Momentary Tropes.' Analysis 57 (1997): 254–8. MacBride, Fraser. 'Four New Ways to Change Your Shape.' Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (2001): 81–9. Simons, Peter. 'On Being Spread Out in Time: Temporal Parts and the Problem of Change.' Existence and Explanation . Eds. W. Spohn, B.C. van Fraassen, and B. Skyrms. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1991: 131-147. Weeks 7 and 8: Special Topic – Material Change Four-Dimensionalism , chapter 5. Selections from Material Constitution: A Reader. Week 9: Special Topic – Change of Position In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 186-195. In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 195-215. Week 10: Special topic – Changing the Past In van Inwagen, P. and Zimmerman, D. Metaphysics: The Big Questions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008: 224-235. van Iwagen, Peter. 'Changing the Past.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics , Volume 5 . Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009: 1-22. Hudson, H. and Wasserman, R. 'Van Inwagen on Time Travel and Changing the Past.' Oxford Studies in Metaphysics , Volume 5. Ed. D. Zimmerman. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009: 41-49. (shrink)
The Quine-Putnam Indispensability argument is the argument for treating mathematical entities on a par with other theoretical entities of our best scientific theories. This argument is usually taken to be an argument for mathematical realism. In this chapter I will argue that the proper way to understand this argument is as putting pressure on the viability of the marriage of scientific realism and mathematical nominalism. Although such a marriage is a popular option amongst philosophers of science and mathematics, in light (...) of the indispensability argument, the marriage is seen to be very unstable. Unless one is careful about how the Quine-Putnam argument is disarmed, one can be forced to either mathematical realism or, alternatively, scientific instrumentalism. I will explore the various options: (i) finding a way to reconcile the two partners in the marriage by disarming the indispensability argument (Jody Azzouni , Hartry Field [13, 14], Alan Musgrave [18, 19], David Papineau ); (ii) embracing mathematical realism (W.V.O. Quine , Michael Resnik , J.J.C. Smart ); and (iii) embracing some form of scientific instrumentalism (Ot´ avio Bueno [7, 8], Bas van Fraassen ). Elsewhere , I have argued for option (ii) and I won’t repeat those arguments here. Instead, I will consider the difficulties for each of the three options just mentioned, with special attention to option (i). In relation to the latter, I will discuss an argument due to Alan Musgrave  for why option (i) is a plausible and promising approach. From the discussion of Musgrave’s argument, it will emerge that the issue of holist versus separatist theories of confirmation plays a curious role in the realism–antirealism debate in the philosophy of mathematics. I will argue that if you take confirmation to be an holistic matter—it’s whole theories (or significant parts thereof) that are confirmed in any experiment—then there’s an inclination to opt for (ii) in order to resolve the marital tension outlined above.. (shrink)
In a recent article, van Fraassen has taken issue with the use to which Perrin’s experiments on Brownian motion have been put by philosophers, especially those defending scientific realism. He defends an alternative position by analysing the details of Perrin’s case in its historical context. In this reply, I argue that van Fraassen has not done the job well enough and I extend and in some respects attempt to correct his claims by close attention to the historical details.
This essay revisits Meyer Schapiro’s critique of Heidegger’s interpretation of Van Gogh’s painting of a pair of shoes in order to raise the question of the dispute between art history and philosophy as a contest increasingly ceded to the claim of the expert and the hegemony of the museum as culture and as cult or coded signifier. Following a discussion of museum culture, I offer a hermeneutic and phenomenological reading of Heidegger’s ‘Origin of the Work of Art’ and conclude by (...) taking Heidegger’s discussion of the strife between earth and world to the site of the ancient temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae as an example of the insistent foreclosure of the ancient work of art and the conflicts of the pervasive efforts of modern conservation. (shrink)
, I argued that Bas van Fraassen's constructive empiricism was undermined in various ways by his antirealism about modality. Here I offer some comments and responses to the reply to my arguments by Bradley Monton and van Fraassen . In particular, after making some minor points, I argue that Monton and van Fraassen have not done enough to show that the context dependence of counterfactuals renders their truth conditions non-objective, and I also argue that adopting modal realism does after all (...) undermine the motivation for constructive empiricism. Introduction Underdetermination and epistemic modesty Counterfactual observations Modal realism and constructive empiricism. (shrink)
In Belief and the Will, van Fraassen employed a diachronic Dutch Book argument to support a counterintuitive principle called Reflection. There and subsequently van Fraassen has put forth Reflection as a linchpin for his views in epistemology and the philosophy of science, and for the voluntarism (first-person reports of subjective probability are undertakings of commitments) that he espouses as an alternative to descriptivism (first-person reports of subjective probability are merely self-descriptions). Christensen and others have attacked Reflection, taking it to have (...) unpalatable consequences. We prescind from the question of the cogency of diachronic Dutch Book arguments, and focus on Reflection's proper interpretation. We argue that Reflection is not as counterintuitive as it appears — that once interpreted properly the status of the counterexamples given by Christensen and others is left open. We show also that descriptivism can make sense of Reflection, while voluntarism is not especially well suited to do so. (shrink)
Recent discoveries in physics, cosmology and biochemistry have captured the public imagination and made the Design Argument - the theory that God created the world according to a specific plan - the object of renewed scientific and philosophical interest. This accessible but serious introduction to the design problem brings together new perspectives from prominent scientists and philosophers including Paul Davies, Richard Swinburne, Sir Martin Rees, Michael Behe, Elliot Sober and Peter van Inwagen.
Demonstrative noun phrases (e.g. this; that guy over there ) are intimately connected to the context of use in that their reference is determined by demonstrations and/or the speaker's intentions. The semantics of demonstratives therefore has important implications not only for theories of reference, but for questions about how information from the context interacts with formal semantics. First treated by Kaplan as directly referential , demonstratives have recently been analyzed as quantifiers by King, and the choice between these two approaches (...) is a matter of ongoing controversy. Meanwhile, linguists and psychologists working from a variety of perspectives have gathered a wealth of data on the form, meaning, and use of demonstratives in many languages. Demonstratives thus provide a fruitful topic for graduate study for two reasons. On the one hand, they serve as an entry point to foundational issues in reference and the semantics–pragmatics interface. On the other hand, they are an especially promising starting point for interdisciplinary research, which brings the results of linguistics and related fields to bear on the philosophy of language. Author Recommends Kaplan, David. 'Demonstratives.' 1977. Themes from Kaplan . Ed. J. Almong, J. Perry, and H. Wettstein. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1989. 481–563. The seminal work on the semantics of demonstratives and indexicals, such as I, here , and now . Kaplan introduces a distinction between content (which maps from possible circumstances to extensions) and character (which maps from possible contexts to contents). He argues that demonstratives and indexicals are directly referential : given a possible context, their character fixes their extension. Kaplan, David. 'Afterthoughts.' Themes from Kaplan . Ed. J. Almong, J. Perry, and H. Wettstein. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1989. 565–614. An elaboration on the theory developed in 'Demonstratives.' Kaplan considers the connection between direct reference and rigid designation; raises the issue of whether demonstratives depend on demonstrations or speaker intentions; and discusses implications of the analysis for formal semantics and for epistemology. King, Jeffrey C. Complex Demonstratives . Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2001. In perhaps the most influential challenge to date to the direct reference theory of demonstratives, King argues that complex demonstratives (i.e. demonstrative determiners with nominal complements) are best analyzed as quantifiers. Braun, David. 'Complex Demonstratives and Their Singular Contents.' Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2008): 57–99. This recent Kaplanian analysis of complex demonstratives shows the 'state of the art' of direct reference approaches and responds to some of the objections to such approaches raised by King. Elbourne, Paul. 'Demonstratives as Individual Concepts.' Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2008): 409–466. The most recent analysis of demonstratives as individual concepts, contrasting with both the direct reference and quantificational approaches. Fillmore, Charles. Lectures on Deixis . Stanford, CA: CSLI, 1997. In this collection of lectures, originally delivered in 1971, Fillmore considers demonstratives and indexical expressions in many languages to describe the types of information about the context (e.g. locations in space, time, and discourse) that are encoded in natural language. Gundel, Jeanette K., Nancy Hedberg, and Ron Zacharski. 'Cognitive Status and the Form of Referring Expressions in Discourse.' Language 69 (1993): 274–307. Perhaps the most detailed pragmatic alternative to formal semantic theories of demonstratives and other referring expressions. The authors argue that demonstratives are best described as imposing a condition of use in which the referent of the demonstrative has a certain level of salience for the interlocutors. Online Materials http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/indexicals/ Indexicals (David Braun) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/reference/ Reference (Marga Reimer) http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rigid-designators/ Rigid designators (Joseph LaPorte) http://philpapers.org/browse/indexicals-and-demonstratives/ Online bibliography of papers on indexicals and demonstratives Sample Syllabus The following syllabus can be used in entirety for a survey course on demonstratives; in addition, each of the three units is self-contained and can be used alone. Unit 1: Demonstratives and Indexicality Week 1: Indexicals 1. Kaplan, Demonstratives 2. Kaplan, Afterthoughts Week 2: Issues for Indexical Reference 1. Reimer, Marga. 'Do Demonstrations Have Semantic Significance?' Analysis 51 (1991): 177–83. 2. Bach, Kent. 'Intentions and Demonstrations.' Analysis 52 (1992): 140–46. 3. Nunberg, Geoffrey. 'Indexicality and Deixis.' Linguistics and Philosophy 16.1 (1993): 1–43. Week 3: Optional detour: Monsters 1. Schlenker, Philippe. 'A Plea for Monsters.' Linguistics and Philosophy 26 (2003): 29-120. Week 4: Demonstratives as Quantifiers 1. King. Complex Demonstratives , chapters 1–3. Week 5: Indexical and Non-Indexical Demonstratives 1. Braun, David. 'Complex Demonstratives and Their Singular Contents.' Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2008): 57–99. Optional additional reading 2. Roberts, Craige. 'Demonstratives as Definites.' Information Sharing . Ed. Kees van Deemter and Roger Kibble. Stanford, CA: CSLI Press, 2002. 3. Wolter, Lynsey. 'That's That: The Semantics and Pragmatics of Demonstrative Noun Phrases.' Diss. University of California, Santa Cruz, 2006, chapters 2–3. 4. Elbourne, Paul. 'Demonstratives as Individual Concepts.' Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (2008): 409–66. Unit 2: Demonstratives, Proximity, Salience Week 6: Demonstratives and Proximity 1. Fillmore, Charles. 'Deixis I.' in Lectures on Deixis . Stanford, CA: CSLI, 1997. 59–76. 2. Fillmore, Charles. 'Deixis II.' in Lectures on Deixis . Stanford, CA: CSLI, 1997. 103–26. Optional additional reading 3. Prince, Ellen. 'On the Inferencing of Indefinite- this NPs.' Elements of Discourse Understanding . Ed. Aravind K. Joshi, Bonnie L. Weber, and Ivan A. Sag. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981. 231–50. Week 7: Demonstratives and Salience 1. Gundel, Jeanette K., Nancy Hedberg, and Ron Zacharski. 'Cognitive Status and the Form of Referring Expressions in Discourse.' Language 69 (1993): 274–307. Optional additional reading 2. Brown-Schmidt, Sarah, Donna K. Byron, and Michael K. Tanenhaus. 'Beyond Salience: Interpretation of Personal and Demonstrative Pronouns.' Journal of Memory and Language 53 (2005): 292–313. Note: readers new to psycholinguistics should concentrate on the Introduction. Unit 3: Demonstratives and Copular Sentences Week 8: Background on the Typology of Copular Sentences 1. Higgins, F. Roger. 'The Pseudo-Cleft Construction in English.' Diss. MIT, 1973, chapter 5. Week 9: Demonstratives in Copular Sentences 1. Mikkelsen, Line. 'Specifying Who: On the Structure, Meaning, and Use of Specificational Copular Clauses.' Diss. University of California, Santa Cruz, 2004, chapter 8.2 (Truncated Clefts). 2. Heller, Daphna and Lynsey Wolter. ' That is Rosa : Identificational Sentences as Intensional Predication.' Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 12 . Ed. Atle Grønn. Oslo: Department of Literature, Area Studies and European Languages, University of Oslo, 2008. Week 10: Demonstratives, Copular Sentences, Modals 1. Birner, Betty J., Jeffrey P. Kaplan, and Gregory Ward. 'Functional Compositionality and the Interaction of Discourse Constraints.' Language 83 (2007): 317–43. Focus Questions 1. Which of the following expressions are indexicals? Which are demonstratives? Why? (a) a pencil (b) the pencil (c) this pencil (d) Mary Smith (e) Mary's pencil (f ) my pencil (g) we (h) you (i) here (j) there (k) now (l) then 2. Do demonstratives ever interact with scope-taking operators to give rise to two or more truth-conditionally distinct readings? If so, under what circumstances? 3. (a) If demonstratives (sometimes or always) interact with scope-taking operators to give rise to two or more truth-conditionally distinct readings, to what extent can a direct reference theory of demonstratives be maintained? (b) If demonstratives never interact with scope-taking operators to give rise to two or more truth-conditionally distinct readings, to what extent can a quantificational theory of demonstratives be maintained? 4. What kind of thing is a demonstration? Is it a pointing gesture? An indication of the speaker's focus of attention? Something more abstract? 5. What information do English demonstratives convey about proximity? What is 'proximity'– physical closeness to the speaker, or something more abstract? What is the status of this information: is it entailed, presupposed, or something else? 6. Do demonstratives that are accompanied by a physical gesture of demonstration have the same semantic value as anaphoric demonstratives, such as that in (a)? Why or why not? (a) John made a peanut butter sandwich and ate it quickly. Next he took an apple from the fridge. He ate that more slowly. (shrink)
I show why Michael Friedman’s idea that we should view new constitutive frameworks introduced in paradigm change as members of a convergent series introduces an uncomfortable tension in his views. It cannot be justified on realist grounds, as this would compromise his Kantian perspective, but his own appeal to a Kantian regulative ideal of reason cannot do the job either. I then explain a way to make better sense of the rationality of paradigm change on what I take to (...) be Friedman’s own terms. (shrink)
Alan Musgrave, Michael Friedman, Jeffrey Foss, and Richard Creath raised different objections against the Distinction between observables and unobservables when drawn within the confines of Bas C. van Fraassen's Constructive Empiricism (CE), to the effect that the Distinction cannot be drawn there coherently. Van Fraassen has only responded to Musgrave but Musgrave claimed not to understand van Fraassen's succinct response. I argue that van Fraassen's response is not enough. What remains in the end is an unsolved problem which CE (...) cannot afford to leave unsolved, or so I argue; I then strengthen Musgrave's criticism and indicate that an extension of the epistemic policy of CE is mandatory to solve the problem. I also argue that Friedman's and Foss' objection against the Distinction in CE misses the mark on closer inspection. An objection due to Creath does hit the mark but can be taken care of without too much ado. All these objections seem alive and kicking until the present day; I try (and hope) to put them all to rest. (shrink)
Moral rationalism is the view that morality originates in reason alone. It is often contrasted with moral sentimentalism, which is the view that the origin of morality lies at least partly in (non-rational) sentiment. The eighteenth century saw pitched philosophical battles between rationalists and sentimentalists, and the issue continues to fuel disputes among moral philosophers today.
What is not often noted about Bas van Fraassen’s distinctive approach to the scientific realism issue is that constructive empiricism, as he defines it, seems to involve a distinctively realist stance in regard to large parts of natural science. This apparent defection from the ranks of his more uncompromisingly anti‐realist colleagues raises many questions. Is he really leaning to realism here? If he is, why is this not more widely noted? And, more important, if he is, is he entitled to (...) this shyly realist concession? Does his many‐pronged attack on what he sees as the main arguments in support of realism leave him with the wherewithal? (shrink)
In Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, Michael Martin argues that to posit a God that is both omnipotent and omniscient is philosophically incoherent. I challenge this argument by proposing that a God who is necessarily omniscient is more powerful than a God who is contingently omniscient. I then argue that being omnipotent entails being omniscient by showing that for an all-powerful being to be all-powerful in any meaningful way, it must possess complete knowledge about all states of affairs and thus (...) must be understood to be omniscient. (shrink)
This article has benefited from the thoughtful comments and suggestions of many, including Susan Brison, Gilbert Harman, Sally Haslanger, Richard Holton, Win Kymlicka, Mark van Roojen, Michael Smith, Scott Schon, Katalie Stoljar, and the Editors of Philoso- phy & Public Affairs, I am grateful to them all. r, American Booksellers, Inc, v, Hudnut, 5g8 F. Supp. I327 (S.D. Ind. zgsA) (heresfter Hudnut).
For someone who is inclined towards truth monism and moral realism, reading this book is like journeying through a foreign country: somewhat disconcerting, but nonetheless enjoyable. Michael Lynch’s world is a stoutly naturalistic world, in which representation is conceived in terms of causal or teleological relations. This is a world in which it is hard to fit normative facts. Thus, the reader is told that there are good reasons to think that ‘moral properties, should they exist, would not be (...) the sort of properties with which we enter into causal contact’ (p. 161). But it is also a world in which thought is conceived of as unified, in the sense that propositions of all kinds, whether about middle-sized dry goods, mathematical objects, or morals, are truth-apt and cognitive, so that they can intermingle in reasoning. What we have, then, is the following: no moral facts in any serious sense of that term, but ordinary moral truth nonetheless. This is an interesting, but difficult, position. What it requires is a decidedly original account of truth, which Lynch dubs the functionalist theory of truth, according to which truth is both one and many. (shrink)
This paper is about the semantic analysis of referentially opaque verbs like seek and owe that give rise to nonspecific readings. It is argued that Montague's categorization (based on earlier work by Quine) of opaque verbs as properties of quantifiers runs into two serious difficulties: the first problem is that it does not work with opaque verbs like resemble that resist any lexical decomposition of the seek ap try to find kind; the second one is that it wrongly predicts de (...) dicto (i.e. narrow scope) readings due to quantified noun phrases in the object positions of such verbs. It is shown that both difficulties can be overcome by an analysis of opaque verbs as operating on properties. This is a strongly modified version of a paper entitled lsquoDo We Bear Attitudes towards Quantifiers?rsquo that I have presented at conferences in Gosen (Gesellschaft für Sprachwissenschaft), Ithaca (SALT I), and Konstanz (Lexikon). I owe a special debt to Hans Kamp and Arnim von Stechow for shaping my views on the subject of this paper during the past ten years or so. Comments from and discussions with the following friends and colleagues have also led to considerable improvements: Heinrich Beck, Steve Berman, David Dowty, Veerle van Geenhoven, Fritz Hamm, Irene Heim, Wolfgang Klein, Angelika Kratzer, Michael Morreau, Barbara Partee, Mats Rooth, Roger Schwarzschild, Wolfgang Sternefeld, Emil Weydert, Henk Zeevat, and three referees. (shrink)
Michael Jubien’s Ontology, Modality, and the Fallacy of Reference is an interesting and lively discussion of those three topics. In ontology, Jubien defends, to a first approximation, a Quinean conception: a world of objects that may be arbitrarily sliced or summed. Slicing yields temporal parts; summing yields aggregates, or fusions. Jubien is very unQuinean in his explicit Platonism regarding properties and propositions, but concerns about abstracta are peripheral to much of the argumentation in the book.1 His version of the (...) doctrine that arbitrary mereological sums exist is nonstandard in that he views it as a convention (albeit a useful one) that we treat sums of objects as themselves being objects. Indeed, he views the concept of objecthood itself as being conventional. The world consists fundamentally of stuff, which we divide into things in any way that suits our purposes. In modality, Jubien’s views are to a first approximation Chisholmian: he holds the doctrine of mereological essentialism, according to which anything.. (shrink)