The following is a transcript of the interview I (Yasuko Kitano) conducted with Neil Levy (The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, CAPPE) on the 23rd in July 2009, while he was in Tokyo to give a series of lectures on neuroethics at The University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy. I edited his words for publication with his approval.
In his response to my essay “Out of Control,” Neil Levy contests my claims that (1) we are often responsible for acts that we do not consciously choose to perform, and that (2) despite the absence of conscious choice, there remains a relevant sense in which these actions are within our control. In this reply to Levy, I concede that claim (2) is linguistically awkward but defend the thought that it expresses, and I clarify my defense of claim (1) (...) by distinguishing my position from attributionism. (shrink)
In a paper in this journal, Neil Levy challenges Nicholas Agar’s argument for the irrationality of mind-uploading. Mind-uploading is a futuristic process that involves scanning brains and recording relevant information which is then transferred into a computer. Its advocates suppose that mind-uploading transfers both human minds and identities from biological brains into computers. According to Agar’s original argument, mind-uploading is prudentially irrational. Success relies on the soundness of the program of Strong AI—the view that it may someday be possible (...) to build a computer that is capable of thought. Strong AI may in fact be false, an eventuality with dire consequences for mind-uploading. Levy argues that Agar’s argument relies on mistakes about the probability of failed mind-uploading and underestimates what is to be gained from successfully mind-uploading. This paper clarifies Agar’s original claims about the likelihood of mind-uploading failure and offers further defense of a pessimistic evaluation of success. (shrink)
Brian Leiter and Neil Sinhababu (eds), Nietzsche and Morality Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s10677-008-9134-6 Authors Rainer Kattel, Tallinn University of Technology Ehitajate tee 5 19086 Tallinn Estonia Journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice Online ISSN 1572-8447 Print ISSN 1386-2820.
Neil MacCormick says that his "version of institutional theory" about the law 'is "non positivist", or, if you wish, "post-positivist"'. He is aware, however, that his work could be perfectly labelled, from the point of view of the history of legal and moral thought, as a form of natural law theory, at least by those who adhere to some version of natural law. It is an important merit of MacCormick that, rising above the label walls and wars, his theory (...) of law has taken into account the main insights of the great authors belonging to both traditions, such as Hans Kelsen and Herbert Hart, on the so-called "positivist" side, and some authors in the Thomistic tradition, particularly John Finnis, as well as "the writings of seventeenth and eighteenth century jurists concerning natural jurisprudence and the law of nature", on the so-called "natural law" side. Writing with such openness to all sources and insights, Neil MacCormick, one of the most eminent legal philosophers of our time, does not surprise us when he chooses to end his lifetime's work with an attempt to dig into the ethical foundations of all that he has written on law and politics. Practical Reason in Law and Morality is, in a way, his most significant book. He tackles here the deeper issues that he himself realised were left open and uncertain in his salient works on legal theory. He considered this book as the last one in a quartet on "Law, State, and Practical Reason". The quartet itself has become the culmination of a life devoted to the common good, in academia and in politics, among many other endeavours. Notwithstanding its flaws, I am convinced that Neil MacCormick's last book can be illuminating for all those students, and even professors, who go about doing legal philosophy without ever reading anything antedating Hart's Concept of Law. They tend to be confused by sophisticated forms of scepticism, luxurious discussions on law and morality and metaethics, and all sorts of distrust of truth in practical matters. Hence they will surely benefit from reading how a great legal philosopher of our time, once equally confused but always honestly open to rational deliberation and fair discussion, freed himself of at least half of his misunderstandings, and learned a lot by reading some natural law theorists old and new. (shrink)
Neil Smith has worked across the full range of the discipline of linguistics and explored its interfaces with other disciplines. In all this work he has maintained a commitment to a mentalist approach to the study of language and communication. The aim of this Special Issue is to honour his work and commitment with a collection of papers which brings together work by phonologists, syntacticians, psycholinguists, and pragmatists who share this interest in language as a central component of the (...) human mind and who have worked with Neil, whether as colleagues, collaborators, or students. Neil’s career can be viewed in relation to three main developments in modern linguistics. First, it reflects the development of generativism, in both syntax and phonology. For Neil, this has meant working within, and exploring the ramifications of, the groundbreaking theoretical framework for linguistics initiated and developed by Noam Chomsky. Neil has given full expression to this intellectual debt in two book-length studies of Chomsky’s ideas and principles (Smith and Wilson 1979, Smith 1999) and in many papers and commentaries. Notwithstanding his unswerving Chomskyan allegiance, Neil has been open to, and has encouraged, the exploration of alternative approaches to both syntax and phonology, including optimality theory, GPSG, word grammar, and categorial grammar. The second development reflected in Neil’s work is the trend towards placing research in linguistics in the context of research in cognitive psychology and philosophy of mind and language - in other words, the development of linguistics as one of the cognitive sciences, again very much a Chomskyan initiative. This ‘cognitive turn’ can be seen as, at least in part, a consequence of a commitment to generativism and to linguistic theories that aim to go beyond detailed description of data to achieve explanatory adequacy. In the field of phonology, this search for explanatory adequacy led to Neil’s work on the acquisition of.... (shrink)
Quarrels between philosophers are never entirely disconnected from larger quarrels. There was a hidden agenda behind the split between old-fashioned “humanistic” philosophy (of the Dewey-Whitehead sort) and the positivists, and a similar agenda lies behind the current split between devotees of “analytic” and “Continental” philosophy. The heavy breathing on both sides about the immorality and stupidity of the opposition signals passions which academic power struggles cannot fully explain. Neil Gross’s monograph study on the American philosopher Richard Rorty (1931–2007) is (...) a multi-layered tapestral offering that deftly weaves together informative strands of cultural history with the binding threads of .. (shrink)
In Chapter 7 of The Taming of the True, Neil Tennant provides a new argument from Michael Dummett's ``manifestation requirement'' to the incorrectness of classical logic and the correctness of intuitionistic logic. I show that Tennant's new argument is only valid if one interprets crucial existence claims occurring in the proof in the manner of intuitionists. If one interprets the existence claims as a classical logician would, then one can accept Tennant's premises while rejecting his conclusion of logical revision. (...) Thus, Tennant has provided no evidence that should convince anyone who is not already an intuitionist. Since his proof is a proof for the correctness of intuitionism, it begs the question. (shrink)
Writing about the intellectual development of a philosopher is a delicate business. My own endeavor to reinterpret the influence of Hegel on Dewey troubles some scholars because, they believe, I make Dewey seem less original.1 But if, like Dewey, we overcome Cartesian dualism, placing the development of the self firmly within a complex matrix of social processes, we are forced to reexamine, without necessarily surrendering, the notion of individual originality, or what Neil Gross calls “discourse[s] of creative genius.”2 To (...) use a mundane example, I can recall several conversations with Dewey scholars about his dislike for his home state of Vermont, all of which revolved around personal reasons he may .. (shrink)
Neil Tennant (Tennant, 2005) has offered an important observation about the AGM theory of belief revision (G¨ardenfors, 1988). We attempt to restate and demonstrate his result in a slightly different way. Fix a formal language L that embeds sentential logic. Given K ⊆ L and ϕ ∈ L, K ⊥ ϕ denotes the class of maximally consistent subsets of K that do not imply ϕ. That is, A ∈ K ⊥ ϕ iff A ⊆ K, A |= ϕ, and (...) there is no B ⊆ K such that B ⊃ A and.. (shrink)
This paper offers a diachronic reconstruction of MacCormick's theory of law and legal argumentation: In particular, two related points will be highlighted in which the difference between the perspective upheld in Legal Reasoning and Legal Theory and the later writings is particularly marked. The first point concerns MacCormick's gradual break with legal positivism, and more specifically the thesis that the implicit pretension to justice of law proves legal positivism false in all its different versions. The second point concerns MacCormick's acceptance (...) of the one-right-answer thesis and the consequent thinning of the differences between MacCormick's theory of legal reasoning and that of Ronald Dworkin and of Robert Alexy. The intent, however, is not only to describe this change in MacCormick's thought, but also to attempt a defence of the original view that we find in Legal Reasoning and Legal Theory. (shrink)
This is an extremely frustrating study. At a basic level it is a competent intellectual biography of Rorty. The writing in the biographical parts of the book is fluent and clear. The historical research in the papers of Rorty and his family is impressive. Although Gross is a sociologist, he has used to his advantage interviews with many people, including Rorty himself before he died. The reader interested in Rorty will find the biography a mine of information, and will in (...) addition get a good sense of how Rorty thought and where his ideas came from. Yet this biographical material, which the author himself describes as straightforward narrative, occupies only 200 of the 360 pages of the text. The other 45% of the .. (shrink)
Eight philosophers discuss the works of the best-selling novelist and graphic novelist, including The Graveyard Book, Coraline and Good Omens and reveal their thoughts on the intersection of fantasy and reality and whether the unknown is as ...
Se busca rastrear la imagen que Platón tiene de Heráclito y articularla con la estructura argumentativa del Cratilo, para comprender las necesidades textuales a las que responde la doctrina del flujo perpetuo, es decir, la discusión sobre la corrección (ὀρθότης) del nombre. Gracias a la inclusión del testimonio heraclíteo, resulta posible rastrear la presunta consolidación de la tesis sobre los nombres primarios y los secundarios como el eje de la separación entre dos planos de realidad (uno estable y uno móvil) (...) y de la teoría de las Ideas -es decir, como la base de la epistemología platónica presente en los diálogos de madurez-. The article seeks to trace the image Plato has of Heraclitus and connect it with the argumentative structure of the Cratylus in order to understand the textual needs that give rise to the doctrine of perpetual flux, that is, the discussion regarding the correctness (ὀρθότης) of names. The inclusion of Heraclitus's testimony makes it possible to trace the alleged consolidation of the thesis regarding primary and secondary names as the axis of separation between two levels of reality (one stable, the other, changing) and the theory of Ideas -that is, as the basis of Plato's epistemology as set forth in the late dialogues-. (shrink)