In the transcendental deduction, the central argument of the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant seeks to secure the objective validity of our basic categories of thought. He distinguishes objective and subjective sides of this argument. The latter side, the subjective deduction, is normally understood as an investigation of our cognitive faculties. It is identified with Kant’s account of a threefold synthesis involved in our cognition of objects of experience, and it is said to precede and ground Kant’s proof of the (...) validity of the categories in the objective deduction. I challenge this standard reading of the subjective deduction, arguing, first, that there is little textual evidence for it, and, second, that it encourages a problematic conception of how the deduction works. In its place, I present a new reading of the subjective deduction. Rather than being a broad investigation of our cognitive faculties, it should be seen as addressing a specific worry that arises in the course of the objective deduction. The latter establishes the need for a necessary connection between our capacities for thinking and being given objects, but Kant acknowledges that his readers might struggle to comprehend how these seemingly independent capacities are coordinated. Even worse, they might well believe that in asserting this necessary connection, Kant’s position amounts to an implausible subjective idealism. The subjective deduction ismeant to allay these concerns by showing that they rest on a misunderstanding of the relation between these faculties. This new reading of the subjective deduction offers a better fit with Kant’s text. It also has broader implications, for it reveals the more philosophically plausible account of our relation to the world as thinkers that Kant is defending – an account that is largely obscured by the standard reading of the subjective deduction. (shrink)
Abstract Both parties in the active philosophical debate concerning the conceptual character of perception trace their roots back to Kant's account of sensible intuition in the Critique of Pure Reason. This striking fact can be attributed to Kant's tendency both to assert and to deny the involvement of our conceptual capacities in sensible intuition. He appears to waver between these two positions in different passages, and can thus seem thoroughly confused on this issue. But this is not, in fact, the (...) case, for, as I will argue, the appearance of contradiction in his account stems from the failure of some commentators to pay sufficient attention to Kant's developmental approach to philosophy. Although he begins by asserting the independence of intuition, Kant proceeds from this nonconceptualist starting point to reveal a deeper connection between intuitions and concepts. On this reading, Kant's seemingly conflicting claims are actually the result of a careful and deliberate strategy for gradually convincing his readers of the conceptual nature of perception. (shrink)
Are any of our beliefs justified? Are they rational? The skeptic thinks that our epistemic justifications are undeserved. Nicholas Nathan confronts the skeptic and questions the value of his argument. Skeptical arguments are against justified and rational belief as well as for ignorance. Nathan argues that the truth value of trivial arguments are a matter of indifference. He tests this conjecture with a varied collection of counterexamples: arguments for ignorance, neo-Cartesian and infinite regress arguments, and also more critically (...) with arguments against justified and rational belief. (shrink)
This book analyzes--in terms of branching--the pervasive reorganization of Latin syntactic and morphological structures: in the development from Latin to French, a shift can be observed from the archaic, left-branching structures (which Latin inherited from Proto-Indo-European) to modern right-branching equivalents. Brigitte Bauer presents a detailed analysis of this development based on the theoretical discussion and definition of "branching" and "head." Subsequently she relates the diachronic shift to psycholinguistic evidence, arguing that the difficuly of LB complex structures as reflected in (...) their painstaking and delayed acquisition accounts for the extensive typological shift from left to right branching that took place in Latin/French and the other Indo-European languages. (shrink)
A systematic study of rational or justified belief, which throws fresh light on current debates about foundations and coherence theories of knowledge, the validation of induction and moral scepticism. Dr Nathan focuses attention on the largely unsatisfiable desires for active and self-conscious assurance of truth liable to be engendered by philosophical reflection about total belief-systems and the sources of knowledge. He extracts a kernel of truth from the doctrine that a regress of justification is both necessary and impossible, contrasts (...) the resultant scepticism with more familiar complaints about the inapplicability of supposedly essential cognitive concepts and explores the feasibility of non-Humean modes of consolation. This is an original and carefully constructed book, which will interest professional philosophers and advanced students of epistemology. (shrink)
Beneath metaphysical problems there often lies a conflict between what we want to be true and what we believe to be true. Nathan provides a general account of the resolution of this conflict as a philosophical objective, showing that there are ways of thinking it through systematically with a view to resolving or alleviating it. The author also studies in detail a set of interrelated conflicts about the freedom and the reality of the will. He shows how difficult it (...) is to find a freedom either of decision or of action which is both an object of reflective desire and an object of rational belief. He also examines conflicts about volition as such, contending that the veridicality of volitional experience is no less easy to doubt than the veridicality of our experience of colors. In this context, arguments emerge for a voluntarist theory of the self. Nathan's important book will be essential reading for all philosophers interested in free will, volition, the self, and the methodology of metaphysics. (shrink)
This dissertation defends and develops the thesis that some instances, or tokens, of dispositional properties are pure. A pure disposition has no causal basis in any further properties beyond the disposition. A causal basis typically consists of some set of properties underlying a disposition that enables the disposition to manifest when stimulated in the appropriate circumstances. For example, a vase is fragile because it is disposed to break when a hammer or other suitable object strikes it, where the causal basis (...) for fragility is the underlying micro-structure of the vase. Moreover, micro-structural properties of the vase seem to anchor the continuous existence of the vase’s fragility when the vase is not actually breaking. In contrast to the neo-Humean metaphysical assumption that any disposition requires a causal basis in further properties, as in the example of fragility, the Pure Dispositions Thesis denies this. This dissertation achieves four goals. First, it defends the Pure Dispositions Thesis from notable objections: the Powers Regress Argument, the Insufficient Causal Basis Argument, the Argument from the Identity Thesis, and the Argument from Spatial Occupation. Second, it evaluates several theories of the continuous existence of pure dispositions, and argues that some pure dispositions are self-grounded via a minimally sufficient occurrence of their own power. Third, it presents two arguments that some pure dispositions are extrinsically grounded, the Argument from the Higgs Field and the Argument from Priority Monism, and deflects numerous objections to those arguments. Finally, it develops and defends an account of systems of pure dispositions, arguing that a pure dispositional system may generate higher-level categorical and dispositional properties by way of an emergence mechanism involving the union of two pure dispositions. (shrink)
It has been suggested that a functionalist understanding of the metaphysics of psychological typing eliminates the prospect for psychological laws. Kim, Millikan, and Shapiro have each separately argued that, if psychological types as functional types are multiply realized, then the diversity of realizing mechanisms demonstrates that there can be no laws of psychology. Additionally, Millikan has argued that the role of functional attribution in the explanation of historical kinds limits the formulation of psychological principles to particular taxa; hence, psychological laws (...) applicable to any cognitive being are not possible. Both arguments against the possibility of psychological laws, I want to suggest, only succeed at showing that certain types of empirical principles will not be laws. I will suggest that a further type of empirical principle, grounded in the general constraints on the sustainability of population types, remains in the running as a candidate law. Importantly, the formulation of these principles presupposes a functionalist understanding of psychological typing. (shrink)
Direct Realists believe that perception involves direct awareness of an object not dependent for its existence on the perceiver. Howard Robinson rejects this doctrine in favour of a Sense-Datum theory of perception. His argument against Direct Realism invokes the principle ‘same proximate cause, same immediate effect’. Since there are cases in which direct awareness has the same proximate cerebral cause as awareness of a sense datum, the Direct Realist is, he thinks, obliged to deny this causal principle. I suggest that (...) although Direct Realism is in more than one respect implausible, it does not succumb to Robinson’s argument. The causal principle is true only if ‘proximate cause’ means ‘proximate sufficient cause’, and the Direct Realist need not concede that there is a sufficient cerebral cause for direct awareness of independent objects. (shrink)
To ascribe a telos is to ascribe a norm or standard of performance. That fact underwrites the plausibility of, say, teleological theories of mind. Teleosemantics, for example, relies on the normative character of teleology to solve the problem of “intentional inexistence”: a misrepresentation is just a malfunction. If the teleological ascriptions of such theories to natural systems, e.g., the neurological structures of the brain, are to be literally true, then it must be literally true that norms can exist independent of (...) intentional and psychological agency. Davies, for one, has argued that such norms are impossible within a naturalistic worldview. Consequently, teleological theories of mind, for example, cannot be literally true. I will show, however, that the truth conditions on normative statements do not presuppose intentional and psychological agency and, further, that a selectional regime is one naturalistic mechanism that satisfies those truth conditions. Norms, then, exist in the world independent of intentional and psychological agency. (shrink)
Several philosophers of science and metaphysicians claim that the dispositional properties of fundamental particles, such as the mass, charge, and spin of electrons, are ungrounded in any further properties. It is assumed by those making this argument that such properties are intrinsic, and thus if they are grounded at all they must be grounded intrinsically. However, this paper advances an argument, with one empirical premise and one metaphysical premise, for the claim that mass is extrinsically grounded and is thus an (...) extrinsic disposition. Although the argument concerns mass characterized as a disposition, it applies equally well whether mass is a categorical or dispositional property; however, the dispositional nature of mass is relevant to some important objections and implications discussed. (shrink)
Evolution leads to more and more complex structures, e.g., molecules, cells and organisms. By means of such structures elementary dynamic bio-electrical fields originate in single cells. They further develop into neurons with neuronal fields, and these combine and integrate in brains into global neuro-electrical fields (NEF) as a medium for the fast representation of outer stimuli. The present hypothesis proposes a specific state of the global NEF in brains as the signature of consciousness. This NEF changes periodically between two states, (...) a de- and a hyperpolarized brain state, and these in turn are paralleled intimately by transitions between consciousness and unconsciousness. In the hyperpolarized state the elementary neuronal fields are enslaved and synchronized by strong oscillations, and under these conditions the NEF is of low information capacity. In the depolarized state, however, the elementary fields are freed to self-organize and superimpose into an integrated NEF rich in information. In this condition the NEF acquires a qualitatively new state variable: consciousness. This new variable is no longer physically measurable; it can only be perceived by introspection. (shrink)
There is an apparent problem in identifying a basis for equality. This problem vanishes if what I call the ‘intuited response’ is successful. According to this response, there is no further explanation of the significance of the feature in virtue of which an individual matters, beyond the bare fact that it is the feature in virtue of which an individual matters. I argue against this claim, and conclude that if the problem of identifying a basis for equality is to be (...) resolved, it is necessary to defend a substantive account of the independent significance of some feature. (shrink)
In this paper I attempt to further the case, made in recent years by Eva Gothlin, that readers interested in a philosophical return to Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex have good reason to heed Beauvoir's appropriation of central concepts from Heidegger's Being and Time. I speculate about why readers have been hesitant to acknowledge Heidegger's influence on Beauvoir and show that her infrequent though, I argue, important use of the Heideggarian neologism Mitsein in The Second Sex makes inadequate sense (...) apart from an appreciation of the fundamental role played by her appropriation of Hegel's master-slave dialectic in that book. I suggest a way to square Beauvoir's Hegelian claim that human beings are fundamentally at odds with one another with her Heideggerian view that we are also all ontologically with one another. Finally, I sketch out a way of interpreting Beauvoir's employment of certain concepts from Hegel and Heidegger in the service of understanding, hence beginning to overcome, women's oppression. (shrink)
Some Christians combine a doctrine about Christ which implies that there is more than one divine self with the doctrine that God revealed to the Jews a monotheism according to which there is just one divine self. I suggest that it is less costly for such Christians to achieve consistency by abandoning the second of these doctrines than to achieve it by abandoning the first.
I argue for two principles by combining which we can construct a sound cosmological argument. The first is that for any true proposition p's if 'there is an explanation for p's truth' is consistent then there is an explanation for p's truth. The second is a modified version of the principle that for any class, if there is an explanation for the non-emptiness ofthat class, then there is at least one non-member ofthat class which causes it not to be empty.
During the 1980s, empirical social sciences and normative theory seemingly converged within ethical debates. This tendency kindled new debates about the limits and possibilities of empirical-normative collaboration. The article asks for adequate ways of collaboration by taking a closer look at the philosophy of science of empirical social sciences as well as normative theory development and its logical groundings. As a result, three possible modes of cooperation are characterized: first, the empirical assessment of conditions that actually necessitate the translation of (...) normatively derived basic principles into practice rules; second, the empirical assessment of conditions for application of a moral norm which are formulated by bridging principles; third, the empirical assessment of social practice which allows (a) to measure whether adopted norms actually are implemented in practice or not and (b) to encounter new moral problems which are in need of ethical guidance. Finally, the article defends a symbiotic position in Weaver’s and Trevino's triad of possible approaches to empirical-normative collaboration in ethics. (shrink)
Shapiro has suggested that the empirical plausibility of the multiple realizability of human-like minds is dubious, because a contrary thesis, the Mental Constraint Thesis, enjoys positive empirical evidence. The Mental Constraint Thesis states that, given the actual physical laws, there is only one way to realize a human-like mind. I will suggest, however, that the Mental Constraint Thesis is not a contrary to the empirical multiple realizability thesis relevant to psychological reduction or autonomy and, as a consequence, has no bearing (...) on those classificatory issues. (shrink)
This essay presents a model-theoretic account of dispositional properties, according to which dispositions are not ordinary properties of real entities; dispositions capture the behavior of abstract, idealized models. This account has several payoffs. First, it saves the simple conditional analysis of dispositions. Second, it preserves the general connection between dispositions and regularities, despite the fact that some dispositions are not grounded in actual regularities. Finally, it brings together the analysis and the explanation of dispositions under a unified framework.
The framework -- The universe without (human) morality -- Preparing the stage for morality -- Getting closer : pre-game decisions about the rules -- Crossing the threshold of moral good and evil -- Qualifying as a sinner -- Qualifying as morally virtuous -- Motives distinguished from consequences -- Consequences -- Motives -- Three major motives -- Self regard -- Duty or obligation -- Altruistic love -- Why duty and altruistic love should be combined -- Degrees of moral goodness -- The (...) minimum obligation to love others -- Is the minimum duty the only kind of laudable altruism? -- Have we ever praised those who excel in self-love? -- Relations of this thesis to other traditions -- Plato and Aristotle -- St. Thomas Aquinas -- Immanuel Kant -- The need for good theory to guide good practice -- Conclusion : is morality an intimation of beyond? (shrink)
This essay is concerned with concentrations of entities, which play an important—albeit often overlooked—role in scientific explanation. First, I discuss an example from molecular biology to show that concentrations can play an irreducible causal role. Second, I provide a preliminary philosophical analysis of this causal role, suggesting some implications for extant theories of causation. I conclude by introducing the concept of causation by concentration, a form of statistical causation whose widespread presence throughout the sciences has been unduly neglected and which (...) deserves to be studied in more depth. 1 Introduction2 Solving Lillie's Paradox: Lysogenic Induction in Phage λ3 Repressor Concentration and the Tuning of the Switch4 Concentration and Causality5 Preemption in Concentrations: Analysis and Implications6 Causation by Concentration: General Definition, Refinements, and Further Applications. (shrink)
In "Warrant and Proper Function" Plantinga argues that atheistic Naturalism is self-defeating. What is the probability that our cognitive faculties are reliable, given this Naturalism and an evolutionary explanation of their origins? Plantinga argues that if the Naturalist is modest enough to believe that it is irrational to have any belief as to the value of this probability, then he is irrational even to believe his own Naturalism. I suggest that Plantinga's argument has a false premise, and that even if (...) his argument were sound there would be reasons for doubting whether the Naturalist should respond to it by abandoning his Naturalism. (shrink)
Sexual self-determination is considered a fundamental human right by most of us living in Western societies. While we must abide by laws regarding consent and coercion, in general we expect to be able to engage in sexual behaviour whenever, and with whomever, we choose. For older people with dementia living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs), however, the issue becomes more complex. Staff often struggle to balance residents' rights with their duty of care, and negative attitudes towards older people's sexuality (...) can lead to residents' sexual expression being overlooked, ignored, or even discouraged. In particular, questions as to whether residents with dementia are able to consent to sexual activity or physically intimate relationships pose a challenge to RACF staff, and current legislation does little to assist them. This paper will address these issues, and will argue that, while every effort should be made to ensure that no resident comes to harm, RACFs must respect the rights of residents with dementia to make decisions about their sexuality, intimacy and physical relationships. (shrink)
While philosophers tend to consider a single type of causal history, biologists distinguish between two kinds of causal history: evolutionary history and developmental history. This essay studies the peculiarity of development as a criterion for the individuation of biological traits and its relation to form, function, and evolution. By focusing on examples involving serial homologies and genetic reprogramming, we argue that morphology (form) and function, even when supplemented with evolutionary history, are sometimes insufficient to individuate traits. Developmental mechanisms bring in (...) a novel aspect to the business of classification—identity of process-type—according to which entities are type-identical across individuals and natural kinds in virtue of the fact that they form and develop through similar processes. These considerations bear important metaphysical implications and have potential applications in several areas of philosophy. (shrink)
Rendell and Whitehead note the necessary, complementary relationship between field and laboratory studies in other species, but conclude their article by de-emphasizing the role of laboratory findings in cetacean research. The ambiguity in field studies of cetaceans should argue for greater reliance on the laboratory, which has provided much of the available research supporting the hypothesis of cetacean culture.
One million cases of child maltreatment and twelve hundred child deaths due to abuse and neglect occur per year. But since many cases of abuse and neglect remain either unreported or unsubstantiated due to insufficient evidence, the number of children who are abused, neglected, and killed at the hands of family caregivers is probably higher. One approach to combat child abuse in the U.K. has been the employment of hospital-based covert video surveillance (CVS) to monitor parents suspected of Munchausen Syndrome (...) by Proxy (MSBP). The use of CVS, however, raises concerns about voluntary informed consent, research on human subjects, privacy, and the appropriateness of healthcare providers to conduct CVS. More broadly, the use of CVS raises concerns about the ethical life of healthcare institutions and their moral obligations to the families and communities they serve. The U.K. protocol for CVS is examined in light of these concerns. Three alternative CVS protocols and two procedures for selecting a protocol are then proposed for use in the U.S. The paper concludes that any CVS protocol selected for use by hospitals ought to be selected by means of open and democratic processes that permit community input and, subsequently, the possibility of a consensus on the moral status and scope of CVS. (shrink)
I argue that intentionalism in aesthetics and in legal interpretation is vulnerable to a different sort of criticism than is found in the voluminous literature on the topic. Specifically, a kind of paradox arises for the intentionalist out of recognition of a second-order intention embedded in the social practices that characterize both art and law. The paper shows how this second-order intention manifests itself in each of the two enterprises, and argues that its presence entails the overriding centrality of the (...) public text, and hence a rejection of the interpretive stance distinctive of intentionalism itself. (shrink)
Policies and position statements regarding decision-making for extremely premature babies exist in many countries and are often directive, focusing on parental choice and expected outcomes. These recommendations often state survival and handicap as reasons for optional intervention. The fact that such outcome statistics would not justify such approaches in other populations suggests that some other powerful factors are at work. The value of neonatal intensive care has been scrutinized far more than intensive care for older patients and suggests that neonatal (...) care is held to a higher standard of justification. The relative value placed on the life of newborns, in particular the preterm, is less than expected by any objective medical data or any prevailing moral frameworks about the value of individual lives. Why do we feel less obligated to treat the premature baby? Do we put newborns in a special and lesser moral category? We explore this question from a legal and ethical perspective and offer several hypotheses pertaining to personhood, reproductive choices, “precious children,” and probable evolutionary and anthropological factors. (shrink)