We consider connections between number sense—the ability to judge number—and the interpretation of natural language quantifiers. In particular, we present empirical evidence concerning the neuroanatomical underpinnings of number sense and quantifier interpretation. We show, further, that impairment of number sense in patients can result in the impairment of the ability to interpret sentences containing quantifiers. This result demonstrates that number sense supports some aspects of the language faculty.
It is commonly supposed that metaphysical modal claims are to be evaluated with respect to a single domain of possible worlds: a claim is metaphysically necessary just in case it is true in every possible world, and metaphysically possible just in case it is true in some possible world. We argue that the standard understanding is incorrect; rather, whether a given claim is metaphysically necessary or possible is relative to which world is indicatively actual. We motivate our view by attention (...) to discussions in Salmon 1989 and Fine 2005, in which various data are taken to support rejecting the transitivity of accessibility (Salmon) and modal monism (Fine); we argue that relativized metaphysical modality can accommodate these data compatible with both standard modal logic(s) and modal monism. Noting an analogy with two-dimensional semantics, we argue that metaphysical modality has a complex structure, reflecting what is counterfactually possible, relative to each indicatively actual world. In arguing for the need for relativization, we are broadly on the same side as Crossley and Humberstone (1977) and Davies and Humberstone (1979); our contribution here is, first, to offer distinctively metaphysical reasons for relativization, and second, to show that relativization can be incorporated in ways minimally departing from standard modal logic(s). (shrink)
Several philosophers of science have claimed that the conceptual difficulties of quantum mechanics can be resolved by appealing to a particular interpretation of probability theory. For example, Popper bases his treatment of quantum mechanics on the propensity interpretation of probability, and Margenau bases his treatment of quantum mechanics on the frequency interpretation of probability. The purpose of this paper is (i) to consider and reject such claims, and (ii) to discuss the question of whether the ψ -function refers to an (...) individual system or to an ensemble of systems. (shrink)
The paper distinguishes between two different senses of ‘genius’ found in Kant's Critique of Judgement, and criticizes an argument commonly attributed to Kant. The argument is in support of the conclusion that an agent must possess and employ genius in the ‘productive faculty’ sense in order to produce an artwork. It is shown that Kant did not in fact make this argument. He defended a different claim concerning the need to employ the concept of a productive faculty of genius in (...) order to make pure judgements of taste concerning artworks. I conclude with the suggestion that there are indications in Kant's theory of a significant departure from a tradition of thought according to which there is something essentially mysterious about the possibility of the production of fine art. (shrink)
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
This article argues that traditional, regulative principles of research ethics offer insufficient guidance for research in the narrative study of lives. These principles presuppose an implicit epistemology that conceives of research participants as data sources, a conception that is argued not tenable for narrative research. The case is made by drawing on recent discussions of research ethics in the qualitative and narrative research literature. This article shows that narrative ethics is inextricably entwined with epistemological issues--namely, issues of narrative ownership and (...) the multiplicity of narrative meaning. Finally, practical recommendations are made for the ethical treatment of research participants in narrative research. The article concludes by situating our approach with respect to the broad range of contemporary perspectives on research ethics. (shrink)
Problems of and explanations for evil -- Neo-cartesianism -- Animal suffering and the fall -- Nobility, flourishing, and immortality : animal pain and animal well-being -- Natural evil, nomic regularity, and animal suffering -- Chaos, order, and evolution -- Combining CDs.
The existence and extent of animal suffering provides grounds for a serious evidential challenge to theism. In the wake of the Darwinian revolution, this strain of natural atheology has taken on substantially greater significance. In this essay we argue that there are at least four neo-Cartesian views on the nature of animal minds which would serve to deflect this evidential challenge.
Over the last decade a handful of cognitive models of religious belief have begun to coalesce in the literature. Attempts to offer “scientific explanations of religious belief ” are nothing new, stretching back at least as far as David Hume, and perhaps as far back as Cicero. What is also not new is a belief that scientific explanations of religious belief serve in some way to undermine the justification for those beliefs.
This paper explores how the Bayesian program benefits from allowing for objective chance as well as subjective degree of belief. It applies David Lewis’s Principal Principle and David Christensen’s principle of informed preference to defend Howard Raiffa’s appeal to preferences between reference lotteries and scaling lotteries to represent degrees of belief. It goes on to outline the role of objective lotteries in an application of rationality axioms equivalent to the existence of a utility assignment to represent preferences in Savage’s famous (...) omelet example of a rational choice problem. An example motivating causal decision theory illustrates the need for representing subjunctive dependencies to do justice to intuitive examples where epistemic and causal independence come apart. We argue to extend Lewis’s account of chance as a guide to epistemic probability to include De Finetti’s convergence results. We explore Diachronic Dutch book arguments as illustrating commitments for treating transitions as learning experiences. Finally, we explore implications for Martingale convergence results for motivating commitment to objective chances. (shrink)
The debate between compatibilists and incompatibilists depends in large part on what ordinary people mean by ‘free will’, a matter on which previous experimental philosophy studies have yielded conflicting results. In Nahmias, Morris, Nadelhoffer, and Turner (2005, 2006), most participants judged that agents in deterministic scenarios could have free will and be morally responsible. Nichols and Knobe (2007), though, suggest that these apparent compatibilist responses are performance errors produced by using concrete scenarios, and that their abstract scenarios reveal the folk (...) theory of free will for what it actually is—incompatibilist. Here, we argue that the results of two new studies suggest just the opposite. Most participants only give apparent incompatibilist judgments when they mistakenly interpret determinism to imply that agents’ mental states are bypassed in the causal chains that lead to their behavior. Determinism does not entail bypassing, so these responses do not reflect genuine incompatibilist intuitions. When participants understand what determinism does mean, the vast majority take it to be compatible with free will. Further results indicate that most people’s concepts of choice and the ability to do otherwise do not commit them to incompatibilism, either, putting pressure on incompatibilist arguments that rely on transfer principles, such as the Consequence Argument. We discuss the implications of these findings for philosophical debates about free will, and suggest that incompatibilism appears to be either false, or else a thesis about something other than what most people mean by ‘free will’. (shrink)
Working within the tradition of continental philosophy, this article argues in favour of a phenomenological understanding of language as a crucial component of bioethical inquiry. The authors challenge the ‘commonsense’ view of language, in which thinking appears as prior to speaking, and speech the straightforward vehicle of pre-existing thoughts. Drawing on Maurice Merleau-Ponty's (1908–1961) phenomenology of language, the authors claim that thinking takes place in and through the spoken word, in and through embodied language. This view resituates bioethics as a (...) matter of bodies that speak. It also refigures the meaning of ethical self-reflexion, and in so doing offers an alternative view on reflexivity and critique. Referring to the Kantian critical tradition and its reception by Hannah Arendt and Michel Foucault, we advance a position we call ‘critical ethical reflexivity’. We contend that Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology of language offers valuable insight into ethical reflexivity and subject formation. Moreover, his understanding of language may foster new qualitative empirical research in bioethics, lead to more nuanced methods for interpreting personal narratives, and promote critical self-reflexion as necessary for bioethical inquiry. (shrink)
We discuss recent work in experimental philosophy on free will and moral responsibility and then present a new study. Our results suggest an error theory for incompatibilist intuitions. Most laypersons who take determinism to preclude free will and moral responsibility apparently do so because they mistakenly interpret determinism to involve fatalism or “bypassing” of agents’ relevant mental states. People who do not misunderstand determinism in this way tend to see it as compatible with free will and responsibility. We discuss why (...) these results pose a challenge to incompatibilists. (shrink)
Recent Christian reflection on the relation of religion and ethics has focused a great deal on establishing a conception of ethics in which God plays a central role. The numerous attempts to respond to Plato's "Euthyphro Dilemma" and the various defenses of the divine command theory provide two examples of this phenomenon. But much of this ethical reflection has gone on in a way that is largely “defensive.” That is, those engaged in such discussions typically describe an ethical theory which (...) provides God with a central role, and then seek to deflect potentially fatal objections. While there is surely a place for this sort of defensive reflection, these discussions fail to address a deeper and perhaps more pressing question, namely: what positive reasons are there for preferring a religiously grounded ethical theory to the non-religious competitors. Are there argument or considerations, we might wonder, that can explain just why grounding an ethical theory in theism is superior to grounding it non-theistically? And if there are, what would such arguments or considerations look like? (shrink)
The belief that God responds to prayer is widespread. According to a recent Newsweek survey 87% of Americans said that they believe that God answers prayers. In fact, they believe so heartily in the efficacy of prayer that nearly one third of those polled said that they prayed to God more than once a day. What is even more interesting about this belief among ordinary Americans is that it has been denied by so many theologians. One might think such denials (...) would be found only among contemporary liberal theologians who deny that miracles are possible or that God would deign to interfere in human affairs. But in fact, such denials can be found in the writings of the founding fathers of many religious traditions. Of course, these theologians do not thereby deny that prayer is important or meaningful. Instead, the argue that it is meaningful because it brings about certain internal, psychological benefits for the petitioner. (shrink)
The standard view in epistemology is that propositional knowledge entails belief. Positive arguments are seldom given for this entailment thesis, however; instead, its truth is typically assumed. Against the entailment thesis, Myers-Schulz and Schwitzgebel (Noûs, forthcoming) report that a non-trivial percentage of people think that there can be propositional knowledge without belief. In this paper, we add further fuel to the fire, presenting the results of four new studies. Based on our results, we argue that the entailment thesis does not (...) deserve the default status that it is typically granted. We conclude by considering the alternative account of knowledge that Myers-Schulz and Schwitzgebel propose to explain their results, arguing that it does not explain ours. In its place we offer a different explanation of both sets of findings—the conviction account, according to which belief, but not knowledge, requires mental assent. (shrink)
This article is a critical methodological reflection on the use of interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) initiated in the context of a qualitative research project on the experience of seclusion in a psychiatric setting. It addresses an explicit gap in the IPA literature to explore the ways that Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology can extend the remit of IPA for noncognitivist qualitative research projects beyond the field of health psychology. In particular, the article develops Merleau-Ponty’s understanding of the lived-body, language, and embodied speech, with (...) specific attention to the ethical implications of body and place. It concludes with a discussion on phenomenological reflexivity and prompts a reconsideration of phenomenological methods across a wide range of qualitative research projects concerned with subjectivity and ethical practice, including critical health studies, critical bioethics, and cultural studies that employ a qualitative empirical research design. (shrink)
The Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) movement is an ideological force in health research and health policy which asks for allegiance to two types of methodological doctrine. The first is the highly quotable motherhood statement: for example, that we should make conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence (paraphrasing Sackett). The second type of doctrine, vastly more specific and in practice more important, is the detailed methodology of design and analysis of experiments. This type of detailed methodological doctrine tends to (...) be simplified by commentators but followed to the letter by practitioners. A number of interestingly dumb claims have become entrenched in prominent versions of these more specific methodological doctrines. I look at just a couple of example claims, namely: Any randomised controlled trial (RCT) gives us better evidence than any other study. Confidence intervals are always useful summaries of at least part of the evidence an experiment gives us about a hypothesis. To offer a positive doctrine which might move us past the current conflict of micro-theories of evidence, I propose a mild methodological pluralism: in any local context in which none of a variety of scientific methodologies is clearly and uncontentiously right, researchers should not be discouraged from using any methodology for which they can provide a good argument. (shrink)
Attributes of God : independence, goodness, and power -- Attributes of God : eternity, knowledge, and providence -- God triune and incarnate -- Faith and rationality -- Theistic arguments -- Anti-theistic arguments -- Religion and science -- Religion, morality, and politics -- Mind, body, and immortality.
Historically, those who are committed to libertarianism are usually so committed for at least one of two reasons. First, some are convinced that the very idea of an agent acting freely and responsibly is incoherent when sufficient conditions for the choice obtain, whether internal or external to the agent. If, it is claimed, the choice of the agent can be traced back to states of affairs which are sufficient for the choice, the choice is simply a consequence of those conditions, (...) and this not an act of the agent himself. As a result, such choices are neither free nor something for which the agent is morally responsible. (shrink)
It is argued, on the basis of ideas derived from Wittgenstein's Tractatus and Husserl's Logical Investigations, that the formal comprehends more than the logical. More specifically: that there exist certain formal-ontological constants (part, whole, overlapping, etc.) which do not fall within the province of logic. A two-dimensional directly depicting language is developed for the representation of the constants of formal ontology, and means are provided for the extension of this language to enable the representation of certain materially necessary relations. The (...) paper concludes with a discussion of the relationship between formal logic, formal ontology, and mathematics. (shrink)
According to a familiar objection to Davidson's causal theory of action, reasons are not causes qua reasons unless explanations of actions fit reason and action into a nomic nexus. The focus of this criticism should really be redirected to the issue of whether or not Davidson's theory provides an account of the explanatory force of explanations of actions.
Over the last two decades, scientific accounts of religion have received a great deal of scholarly and popular attention both because of their intrinsic interest and because they are widely as constituting a threat to the religion they analyse. The Believing Primate aims to describe and discuss these scientific accounts as well as to assess their implications. The volume begins with essays by leading scientists in the field, describing these accounts and discussing evidence in their favour. Philosophical and theological reflections (...) on these accounts follow, offered by leading philosophers, theologians, and scientists. This diverse group of scholars address some fascinating underlying questions: Do scientific accounts of religion undermine the justification of religious belief? Do such accounts show religion to be an accidental by-product of our evolutionary development? And, whilst we seem naturally disposed toward religion, would we fare better or worse without it? Bringing together dissenting perspectives, this provocative collection will serve to freshly illuminate ongoing debate on these perennial questions. (shrink)
Recent non-representationalists and metaphysical anti-realists (such as Goodman, Putnam, Rorty, etc.) have argued that the “Enlightenment notion” of a “God’s eye” point of view of the world is unsustainable. Deployment of conceptual schemes and/or intersubjective assent both constitute the world and fix the truth value of our statements about it. Many theists, on the contrary, hold an equally extreme realist position according to which God has a view of the world as it is “in itself" which provides (...) an exhaustive description of the world. Furthermore, on this view, God has access to this exhaustive picture because the world exists and is what it is in virtue of its being the object of divine creative intentions. For these theistic realists, truths about the world must ultimately be able to be cashed out in terms of an ontology consisting only of simple and composite substances—substances which exist in virtue of the ontological structure set out in the world via God's creative activity. As a result, on this view, the world is constituted in a way that is independent of the activity of created cognizers and their conceptualizing activity. The truth of our assertions must ultimately find its grounding in this independently constituted world. (shrink)
The ‘Precautionary Principle’ provides a somewhat ill-defined guide, often of uncertain normative status, for those exercising administrative decision-making power in circumstances where that may create potential risks to human health or the environment. This paper seeks to explore to what extent the precautionary principle should have been and was in fact utilised by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in its decision to approve the marketing of sunscreens containing titanium dioxide (TiO2) and zinc oxide (ZnO) in nanoparticulate form. In particular, (...) this article assesses to what extent better application of that principle might have altered the TGA’s decision that TiO2 and ZnO ENPs in sunscreens do not require new safety testing, because they are considered to be functionally equivalent to their bulk counterparts. (shrink)
Since the end of the Cold War, the scope and study of diplomacy has expanded. In the modern diplomatic environment, novel terms such as pipeline diplomacy, coercive diplomacy, diplomacy by sanction and citizen diplomacy are common, alongside the more traditional view of diplomacy as state-to-state activity, monopolized by professional, official diplomats. With such a broad range of views, the scholar can become confused as to what actually constitutes modern diplomacy? In this article, it is argued that the disparity of views (...) in the diplomacy studies field must be classified and consolidated before the enhanced role of diplomacy in the twenty-first century can be better understood. In this article, three different classifications or schools of diplomatic thought are introduced and constructed: the Traditional School, the Nascent School, and the Innovative School. (shrink)
This study examines early Chinese moral education?its curriculum, objectives and the philosophical assumptions underlying them?in its classical Confucian expression. It analyzes early Confucian debates on moral psychology, the Confucian moral curriculum consisting of model emulation, cultural practices and canonical instruction, and the methods and aims of Confucian statecraft. The study reveals how ancient Confucians integrated these components into a coherent discourse on moral education and its implementation for the related purposes of cultivating virtuous people and benevolent rulers. It explains why (...) different early Confucians argued that ?nature? and ?nurture? must interrelate suitably not only for people to develop morally and prosper collectively, but also to moderate the ruler?s power by subjecting it to alternative sources of authority. This examination demonstrates that, contrary to modern criticisms of traditional Confucian culture and unlike contemporary uses of moral education in China, classical Confucian moral education was understood to serve aims quite different from either bolstering an autocracy or political indoctrination. (shrink)
Marx launched a revolution in social thought that has been largely ignored. We locate this revolution in the context of two major reassessments of modern philosophy, Heidegger’s Being and Time and Donald Davidson’s new anti-subjectivism. We argue that the philosophical significance of Marx’s critique of the capitalist mode of production—his critique of the bourgeois horizon—has been overlooked. The paper exposes the bourgeois mindset that runs through political economy, “traditional” Marxism, and much of modern and postmodern philosophy. Bourgeois thinking is marked (...) by a series of “purist splits,” conceptual distinctions that are mishandled as actual separations: conceptual vs. empirical, conceptual scheme vs. thing in itself, individual vs. society, production vs. distribution, preference vs. the preferred object, and subjective vs. objective. Marx shows how capitalist social forms that produce the notion of “value added” inculcate the purist, bifurcating bourgeois horizon. (shrink)