The Art of Living Consciously Is an Operating Manual for Our Basic Tool of Survival In The Art of Living Consciously, Dr. NathanielBranden, our foremost authority on self-esteem, takes us into new territory, exploring the actions of our minds when they are operating as our life and well-being require -- and also when they are not. No other book illuminates so clearly what true mindfulness means: * In the workplace * In the arena of romantic love * (...) In child-rearing * In the pursuit of personal development Today we are exposed to an unprecedented amount of information and an unprecedented number of opinions about every conceivable aspect of life. We are thrown on our own resources as never before -- and we have nothing to protect us but the clarity of our thinking. In The Art of Living Consciously, Branden gives us the tools with which to draw out the best within us. (shrink)
Background: Empirical studies in Muslim communities on organ donation and blood transfusion show that Muslim counsellors play an important role in the decision process. Despite the emerging importance of online English Sunni fatwas, these fatwas on organ donation and blood transfusion have hardly been studied, thus creating a gap in our knowledge of contemporary Islamic views on the subject. Method: We analysed 70 English Sunni e-fatwas and subjected them to an in-depth text analysis in order to reveal the key concepts (...) in the Islamic ethical framework regarding organ donation and blood transfusion. Results: All 70 fatwas allow for organ donation and blood transfusion. Autotransplantation is no problem at all if done for medical reasons. Allotransplantation, both from a living and a dead donor, appears to be possible though only in quite restricted ways. Xenotransplantation is less often mentioned but can be allowed in case of necessity. Transplantation in general is seen as an ongoing form of charity. Nearly half of the fatwas allowing blood transfusion do so without mentioning any restriction or problem whatsoever. The other half of the fatwas on transfusion contain the same conditional approval as found in the arguments pro organ transplantation. Conclusion: Our findings are very much in line with the international literature on the subject. We found two new elements: debates on the definition of the moment of death are hardly mentioned in the English Sunni fatwas and organ donation and blood transfusion are presented as an ongoing form of charity. (shrink)
This article surveys Rand's relationship to key thinkers in the Austrian school of economics, including Ludwig von Mises, Murray N. Rothbard, and F. A. Hayek. Austrian theory informs the writings of Rand and her early associates (e.g., NathanielBranden, Alan Greenspan, and George Reisman) on topics ranging from monopoly to business cycles. Some post-Randian thinkers (e.g., Richard Salsman), however, have repudiated many of these insights, thus constituting a movement away from the historically close relationship between Objectivism and Austrianism. (...) This symposium explores the distinction between these approaches and the possibilities for a shared vision. (shrink)
This article surveys the exponential increase in Rand references in scholarly and popular sources to illustrate her cultural ascendancy as an iconic figure. Special attention is paid to Rand's impact on popular literature, television, cartoons, and illustrated media, including comics. Rand's own involvement in illustrated presentations of her ideas is explored, as is her influence on such comic artists as Steve Ditko, Frank Miller, and others. NathanielBranden's insights on the role of comics in projecting heroic values are (...) also addressed. (shrink)
In this article, I focus on two moments of Nathaniel Kleitman's career, specifically that of his Mammoth Cave experiment in the 1930s and his consultation with the United States military in the 1940s–1950s. My interests in bringing these two moments of Kleitman's career together are to examine the role of nature and the social in his understanding of human sleep and the legacies these have engendered for sleep science and medicine in the present; more specifically, I am interested in (...) Kleitman's disallowance of napping in his scientific protocols, which may seem incidental until one apprehends the lack of napping as therapeutic treatment in modern sleep medicine. By forwarding a conception of historiography building on Raymond Williams’ “structures of feeling” and Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's philosophy of immanence, I show how the work of William Dement in the 1970s to found a medicine of sleep and the eclipse of biphasic sleeping patterns as a biological and social possibility is indebted to Kleitman's scientific work. The modification of sleep is also the modification of society itself; and, as Kleitman argued, the harnessing of nature can lead to the finer entrenchments of human nature and society. (shrink)
The early twentieth century witnessed a shift in the way philosophers of science thought about traditional 'problems of induction'. Keynes championed the idea that Hume's Problem was not a problem about causation (which had been the traditional reading of Hume) but rather a problem about induction. Moreover, Keynes (and later Nicod) viewed such problems as having both logical and epistemological components. Hempel picked up where Keynes and Nicod left off, by formulating a rigorous formal theory of inductive logic. This spawned (...) a new branch of philosophy of science called confirmation theory. Hempel's theory of confirmation was based on a few very simple (and seemingly plausible) assumptions about (instantial) 'inductive-logical support'. However, as Hempel himself was keenly aware, even such simple and seemingly plausible assumptions give rise to various puzzles and paradoxes. The two most famous paradoxes of confirmation were discovered by Hempel and Goodman. This article discusses Hempel's paradox (which is known as 'the' paradox of confirmation, since it was discovered first). However, many of the historical developments surrounding Hempel's paradox (also known as the 'raven paradox') are also crucial for understanding Goodman's later ('grue') paradox. Author Recommends: Branden Fitelson, 'The Paradox of Confirmation', Philosophy Compass 1/1 (2006): 95–113, doi: [DOI link]. In this article, I explain how the inconsistency between Hempel's intuitive resolution and his official theory of confirmation affects the historical dialectic about the paradox and how it illuminates the nature of confirmation. After the survey, I argue that Hempel's intuitions about the paradox of confirmation were basically correct, and that it is his theory that should be rejected, in favor of a (broadly) Bayesian account of confirmation. C. G. Hempel, 'Studies in the Logic of Confirmation' (I and II), Mind 54 (1945): 1–26, 97–121, dois: [DOI link]; [DOI link]. This is the locus classicus of traditional (instantial) confirmation theory. It is here that original motivations for, traditional approaches to, and paradoxes of confirmation are discussed in depth for the first time, under the rubric 'confirmation theory'. Hempel's discussion (which picks up where Keynes and Nicod left off) is chock full of crucial historical, logical, and epistemological insights. J. M. Keynes, A Treatise on Probability (London: Macmillan, 1921). Keynes does not get enough credit in this context. But, basically, chapters 18 to 23 of this classic book planted the seeds for almost all of modern confirmation theory. Nicod and Hempel (as well as Hosiasson-Lindenbaum, Carnap, and others) were, basically, just picking-up where Keynes left off. J. Nicod, The Logical Problem of Induction (1923), reprinted in Foundations of Geometry and Induction (London: Routledge, 2000). Nicod's essay expands upon Keynes's work. Nicod is the first to use the term 'confirmation', in connection with a relation of 'inductive-logical support'. Nicod endorses several key confirmation-theoretic principles (which were already advanced by Keynes). In the hands of Hempel, Nicod's work later becomes an important historical foil. J. Hosiasson–Lindenbaum, 'On Confirmation', Journal of Symbolic Logic 5 (1940): 133–48. This essay contains most (if not all) of the basic ingredients of the 'Bayesian' approaches to the paradox of confirmation that appeared later. It also sheds much light on an important dispute between Keynes and Nicod concerning one of the claims Keynes makes (in his Treatise) about 'long-run convergence' in certain (instantial) confirmation-theoretic problems. This paper also contains one of the earliest rigorous axiomatizations of conditional (subjective or logical) probability. R. Carnap, Logical Foundations of Probability (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago, 1950). This is Carnap's encyclopaedic work on inductive logic and probability. There is a tremendous amount of wisdom in here. For present purposes, the sections on Hempel's theory of confirmation (in contrast to probabilistic approaches to confirmation, such as Hosiasson–Lindenbaum's and Carnap's) are probably most important and salient (see §§87–8). I. J. Good, 'The Paradox of Confirmation', British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 11 (1960): 145–9. C. Chihara, 'Quine and the Confirmational Paradoxes', in Midwest Studies in Philosophy. Vol. 6: The Foundations of Analytic Philosophy, eds. Peter A. French, Theodore E. Uehling, Jr., and Howard K. Wettstein (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1981), 425–52. J. Earman, Bayes or Bust: A Critical Examination of Bayesian Confirmation Theory (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992), specifically: pp. 63–73. R. M. Royall, Statistical Evidence: A Likelihood Paradigm (New York, NY: Chapman & Hall, 1997), specifically: the Appendix on 'The Paradox of the Ravens'. C. McKenzie and L. Mikkelsen, 'The Psychological Side of Hempel's Paradox of Confirmation', Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 7 (2000): 360–6. P. Maher, 'Probability Captures the Logic of Scientific Confirmation', in Contemporary Debates in the Philosophy of Science, ed. Christopher Hitchcock (Oxford: Blackwell, 2004), 69–93. P. Vranas, 'Hempel's Raven Paradox: A Lacuna in the Standard Bayesian Solution', British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 55 (2004): 545–60. This is a list of seven of my favourite papers on the paradox of confirmation, since 1950 (listed in chronological order). Most of these are coming from a broadly 'Bayesian' perspective. In particular, I recommend Vranas as a good starting point here. Online Materials: http://fitelson.org/probability/ Probability & Induction (PHIL 148, UC-Berkeley, Spring 2008) This is the Web site for an undergraduate course on probability and induction that I taught at UC-Berkeley in Spring 2008. Much of the course focuses on confirmation theory (including the paradoxes of confirmation). There are many links there to lecture notes, papers, books and other salient online resources. http://fitelson.org/confirmation/ Confirmation (graduate seminar, UC-Berkeley, Fall 2007) This is the Web site for a graduate seminar on confirmation that I taught at UC-Berkeley in Fall 2007. This seminar is a historical trace of induction/confirmation, from Aristotle to Goodman (mostly, focusing on the 20th century and the paradoxes of confirmation). Sample Syllabus: See the online syllabi for Confirmation and/or Probability & Induction (above). Note: those online syllabi contain electronic copies of many of the salient readings. (shrink)
Allen Carlson and Sheila Lintott (eds): Nature, Aesthetics, and Environmentalism: From Beauty to Duty Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10806-010-9258-2 Authors Nathaniel Barrett, Institute for the Biocultural Study of Religion 1711 Massachusetts Ave NW #308 Washington DC 20036 USA Journal Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics Online ISSN 1573-322X Print ISSN 1187-7863.
This paper suggests that late nineteenth-century definitions of self-mutilation, a new category of psychiatric symptomatology, were heavily influenced by the use of self-injury as a rhetorical device in the novel, for the literary text held a high status in Victorian psychology. In exploring Dimmesdale’s “self-mutilation” in The Scarlet Letter in conjunction with psychiatric case histories, the paper indicates a number of common techniques and themes in literary and psychiatric texts. As well as illuminating key elements of nineteenth-century conceptions of the (...) self, and the relation of mind and body through ideas of madness, this exploration also serves to highlight the social commentary implicit in many Victorian medical texts. Late nineteenth-century England, like mid-century New England, required the individual to help himself and, simultaneously, others; personal charity and individual philanthropy were encouraged, while state intervention was often presented as dubious. In both novel and psychiatric text, self-mutilation is thus presented as the ultimate act of selfish preoccupation, particularly in cases on the “borderlands” of insanity. (shrink)
In this paper, we investigate various possible (Bayesian) precisifications of the (somewhat vague) statements of “the equal weight view” (EWV) that have appeared in the recent literature on disagreement. We will show that the renditions of (EWV) that immediately suggest themselves are untenable from a Bayesian point of view. In the end, we will propose some tenable (but not necessarily desirable) interpretations of (EWV). Our aim here will not be to defend any particular Bayesian precisification of (EWV), but rather to (...) raise awareness about some of the difficulties inherent in formulating such precisifications. (shrink)
In this note, I consider various precisifications of the slogan ‘evidence of evidence is evidence’. I provide counter-examples to each of these precisifications (assuming an epistemic probabilistic relevance notion of ‘evidential support’).
First, a brief historical trace of the developments in confirmation theory leading up to Goodman's infamous "grue" paradox is presented. Then, Goodman's argument is analyzed from both Hempelian and Bayesian perspectives. A guiding analogy is drawn between certain arguments against classical deductive logic, and Goodman's "grue" argument against classical inductive logic. The upshot of this analogy is that the "New Riddle" is not as vexing as many commentators have claimed (especially, from a Bayesian inductive-logical point of view). Specifically, the analogy (...) reveals an intimate connection between Goodman's problem, and the "problem of old evidence". Several other novel aspects of Goodman's argument are also discussed (mainly, from a Bayesian perspective). (shrink)
Hempel first introduced the paradox of confirmation in (Hempel 1937). Since then, a very extensive literature on the paradox has evolved (Vranas 2004). Much of this literature can be seen as responding to Hempel’s subsequent discussions and analyses of the paradox in (Hempel 1945). Recently, it was noted that Hempel’s intuitive (and plausible) resolution of the paradox was inconsistent with his official theory of confirmation (Fitelson & Hawthorne 2006). In this article, we will try to explain how this inconsistency affects (...) the historical dialectic about the paradox and how it illuminates the nature of confirmation. In the end, we will argue that Hempel’s intuitions about the paradox of confirmation were (basically) correct, and that it is his theory that should be rejected, in favor of a (broadly) Bayesian account of confirmation. (shrink)
There are two central questions concerning probability. First, what are its formal features? That is a mathematical question, to which there is a standard, widely (though not universally) agreed upon answer. This answer is reviewed in the next section. Second, what sorts of things are probabilities---what, that is, is the subject matter of probability theory? This is a philosophical question, and while the mathematical theory of probability certainly bears on it, the answer must come from elsewhere. To see why, observe (...) that there are many things in the world that have the mathematical structure of probabilities---the set of measurable regions on the surface of a table, for example---but that one would never mistake for being probabilities. So probability is distinguished by more than just its formal characteristics. The bulk of this essay will be taken up with the central question of what this “more” might be. (shrink)
A number of theories of causation posit that causes raise the probability of their effects. In this paper, we survey a number of proposals for analyzing causal strength in terms of probabilities. We attempt to characterize just what each one measures, discuss the relationships between the measures, and discuss a number of properties of each measure.
According to orthodox (Kolmogorovian) probability theory, conditional probabilities are by definition certain ratios of unconditional probabilities. As a result, orthodox conditional probabilities are undefined whenever their antecedents have zero unconditional probability. This has important ramifications for the notion of probabilistic independence. Traditionally, independence is defined in terms of unconditional probabilities (the factorization of the relevant joint unconditional probabilities). Various “equivalent” formulations of independence can be given using conditional probabilities. But these “equivalences” break down if conditional probabilities are permitted to have (...) conditions with zero unconditional probability. We reconsider probabilistic independence in this more general setting. We argue that a less orthodox but more general (Popperian) theory of conditional probability should be used, and that much of the conventional wisdom about probabilistic independence needs to be rethought. (shrink)
Think of confirmation in the context of the Ravens Paradox this way. The likelihood ratio measure of incremental confirmation gives us, for an observed Black Raven and for an observed non-Black non-Raven, respectively, the following “full” likelihood ratios.
We give an analysis of the Monty Hall problem purely in terms of confirmation, without making any lottery assumptions about priors. Along the way, we show the Monty Hall problem is structurally identical to the Doomsday Argument.
To the extent that we have reasons to avoid these “bad B -properties”, these arguments provide reasons not to have an incoherent credence function b — and perhaps even reasons to have a coherent one. But, note that these two traditional arguments for probabilism involve what might be called “pragmatic” reasons (not) to be (in)coherent. In the case of the Dutch Book argument, the “bad” property is pragmatically bad (to the extent that one values money). But, it is not clear (...) whether the DBA pinpoints any epistemic defect of incoherent agents. The same can be said for Representation Theorem arguments, since they involve the structure of an agent’s preferences. (shrink)
Popper  oﬀers a qualitative deﬁnition of the relation “p q” = “p is (strictly) closer to the truth than (i.e., strictly more verisimilar than) q”, using the notions of truth (in the actual world) and classical logical consequence ( ), as follows.
The conjunction fallacy has been a key topic in debates on the rationality of human reasoning and its limitations. Despite extensive inquiry, however, the attempt to provide a satisfactory account of the phenomenon has proved challenging. Here we elaborate the suggestion (first discussed by Sides, Osherson, Bonini, & Viale, 2002) that in standard conjunction problems the fallacious probability judgements observed experimentally are typically guided by sound assessments of _confirmation_ relations, meant in terms of contemporary Bayesian confirmation theory. Our main formal (...) result is a confirmation-theoretic account of the conjunction fallacy, which is proven _robust_ (i.e., not depending on various alternative ways of measuring degrees of confirmation). The proposed analysis is shown distinct from contentions that the conjunction effect is in fact not a fallacy, and is compared with major competing explanations of the phenomenon, including earlier references to a confirmation-theoretic account. (shrink)
The Paradox of the Ravens (a.k.a,, The Paradox of Confirmation) is indeed an old chestnut. A great many things have been written and said about this paradox and its implications for the logic of evidential support. The first part of this paper will provide a brief survey of the early history of the paradox. This will include the original formulation of the paradox and the early responses of Hempel, Goodman, and Quine. The second part of the paper will describe attempts (...) to resolve the paradox within a Bayesian framework, and show how to improve upon them. This part begins with a discussion of how probabilistic methods can help to clarify the statement of the paradox itself. And it describes some of the early responses to probabilistic explications. We then inspect the assumptions employed by traditional (canonical) Bayesian approaches to the paradox. These assumptions may appear to be overly strong. So, drawing on weaker assumptions, we formulate a new-and-improved Bayesian confirmation-theoretic resolution of the Paradox of the Ravens. (shrink)
In Thinking and Acting John Pollock offers some criticisms of Bayesian epistemology, and he defends an alternative understanding of the role of probability in epistemology. Here, I defend the Bayesian against some of Pollock's criticisms, and I discuss a potential problem for Pollock's alternative account.
Arguments for probabilism aim to undergird/motivate a synchronic probabilistic coherence norm for partial beliefs. Standard arguments for probabilism are all of the form: An agent S has a non-probabilistic partial belief function b iff (⇐⇒) S has some “bad” property B (in virtue of the fact that their p.b.f. b has a certain kind of formal property F). These arguments rest on Theorems (⇒) and Converse Theorems (⇐): b is non-Pr ⇐⇒ b has formal property F.
Some opponents of the incommensurability thesis, such as Davidson and Rorty, have argued that the very idea of incommensurability is incoherent and that the existence of alternative and incommensurable conceptual schemes is a conceptual impossibility. If true, this refutes Kuhnian relativism and Kantian scepticism in one fell swoop. For Kuhnian relativism depends on the possibility of alternative, humanly accessible conceptual schemes that are incommensurable with one another, and the Kantian notion of a realm of unknowable things-in-themselves gives rise to the (...) possibility of humanly inaccessible schemes that are incommensurable with even our best current or future science. In what follows we argue that the possibility of incommensurability of either the Kuhnian or the Kantian variety is inescapable and that this conclusion is forced upon us by a simple consideration of what is involved in acquiring a concept. It turns out that the threats from relativism and scepticism are real, and that anyone, including Davidson himself, who has ever defended an account of concept acquisition is committed to one or the other of these two possibilities.1. (shrink)
Donald Davidson used triangulation to do everything from explicate psychological and semantic externalism, to attack relativism and skepticism, to propose conditions necessary for thought and talk. At one point Davidson tried to bring order to these remarks by identifying three kinds of triangulation, each operative in a different situation. Here I take seriously Davidson’s talk of triangular situations and extend it. I start by describing Davidson’s situations. Next I establish the surprising result that considerations from one situation entail the possibility (...) that at any one time one language is partially untranslatable into another. Because the possibility is time-indexed, it need not conflict with Davidson’s own argument against the possibility of untranslatability. I derive the result, not to indict Davidson, but to propose a new kind of triangulation, the reconciliation of untranslatability, which I investigate. Insofar as triangulation is central to Davidson’s views, getting a handle on his various triangular situations is key to getting a handle on his contributions to philosophy. Insofar as those contributions have enriched our understanding of how language, thought, and reality interrelate, extending Davidson’s model promises to extend our understanding too. (shrink)
Dutch Book Arguments. B is susceptibility to sure monetary loss (in a certain betting set-up), and F is the formal role played by non-Pr b’s in the DBT and the Converse DBT. Representation Theorem Arguments. B is having preferences that violate some of Savage’s axioms (and/or being unrepresentable as an expected utility maximizer), and F is the formal role played by non-Pr b’s in the RT.
It is useful to note how (CC) diﬀers from closure: (C) If S comes to believe q solely on the basis of competent deduction from p and S knows that p, then S knows that q. I won’t be discussing (C) today, but here is a useful contrast.