My focus here will be Rudolf Carnap’s views on ontology, as these are presented in the seminal “Empiricism, Semantics and Ontology” (1950). I will first describe how I think Carnap’s distinction between external and internal questions is best understood. Then I will turn to broader issues regarding Carnap’s views on ontology. With certain reservations, I will ascribe to Carnap an ontological pluralist position roughly similar to the positions of Eli Hirsch and the later Hilary Putnam. Then I turn to (...) some interrelated arguments against the pluralist view. The arguments are not demonstrative. Some possible escape routes for the pluralist are outlined. But I think the arguments constitute a formidable challenge. There should be serious doubt as to whether the pluralist view, as it emerges after discussion of these arguments, will be worth defending. Moreover, there is an alternative ontological view which equally well subserves the motivations underlying ontologicalpluralism. (shrink)
OntologicalPluralism is the view that there are different modes, ways, or kinds of being. In this paper, I characterize the view more fully (drawing on some recent work by Kris McDaniel) and then defend the view against a number of arguments. (All of the arguments I can think of against it, anyway.).
Ontologicalpluralism is the doctrine that there are different ways or modes of being. In contemporary guise, it is the doctrine that a logically perspicuous description of reality will use multiple quantifiers which cannot be thought of as ranging over a single domain. Although thought defeated for some time, recent defenses have shown a number of arguments against the view unsound. However, another worry looms: that despite looking like an attractive alternative, ontologicalpluralism is really no (...) different than its counterpart, ontological monism. In this paper, after explaining the worry in detail, I argue that considerations dealing with the nature of the logic ontological pluralists ought to endorse, coupled with an attractive philosophical thesis about the relationship between logic and metaphysics, show this worry to be unfounded. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against Nancy Cartwright’s claim that we ought to abandon what she calls “fundamentalism” about the laws of nature and adopt instead her “dappled world” hypothesis. According to Cartwright we ought to abandon the notion that fundamental laws (even potentially) apply universally, instead we should consider the law-like statements of science to apply in highly qualified ways within narrow, non-overlapping and ontologically diverse domains, including the laws of fundamental physics. For Cartwright, “laws” are just locally applicable (...) refinements of a more open-ended concept of capacities. By providing a critique of the dappled world approach’s central notion of open ended capacities and substituting this concept with an account of properties drawn from recent writing on the subject of structural realism I show that a form of fundamentalism is viable. I proceed from this conclusion to show that this form of fundamentalism provides a superior reading of case studies, such as the effective field theory program (EFT) in quantum field theory, than the “dappled world” view. The case study of the EFT program demonstrates that ontological variability between theoretical domains can be accounted for without altogether abandoning fundamentalism or adopting Cartwright’s more implausible theses. (shrink)
Raimon Panikkar is one of the most sophisticated and most profound among contemporary pluralists of religion. His pluralism is radical because it is rooted in the very nature of things, in the pluralism of being itself, beyond all perspectivalism and indeed beyond truth and falsity taken as intellectual categories. I discuss several issues regarding his position. Is he indeed a pluralist or a monist in disguise? Does he do justice to the uniqueness of each religion? Is he not (...) prematurely introducing the eschatological ideal of the harmony of opposites into the historical world where opposites often produce bloody conflicts? (shrink)
The aim of the present paper is to analyze the problem of the relationship between chemistry and physics, by focusing on the widely discussed case of the atomic orbitals. We will begin by remembering the difference between the physical and the chemical interpretation of the concept of orbital. Then, we will refer to the claim made in 1999 that atomic orbitals have been directly imaged for the first time. On this basis, we will analyze the problem from a new approach, (...) by comparing the concept of orbital used in physics with the concept of orbital used in chemistry. Such an analysis will allow us to argue for an ontologicalpluralism that admits the coexistence of different ontologies without priorities or metaphysical privileges. From this philosophical framework, the concepts of chemical orbital and physical orbital correspond to two different ontologies. As a consequence, chemical orbitals are real entities belonging to the ontology of molecular chemistry, and can be observed like any other entity not belonging to the quantum mechanical ontology. DOI:10.5007/1808-1711.2010v14n3p309. (shrink)
John Hick's "pluralistic hypothesis" of religion essays a comprehensive vision of religious diversity and its attendant soteriological, epistemological, and ontological implications. At the heart of Hick's proposal is the belief in the transcendental unity and soteriological identity of all religions. While coherent and compelling, Hick's model militates against those traditions that do not possess an ultimate noumenal referent that undergirds the phenomenal responses of culturally conditioned traditions. One of those traditions, namely Sōtō Zen Buddhism, at once defies Hick's categories (...) and presses for an alternative understanding of the epistemological, metaphysical, and soteriological issues. (shrink)
Recent pleas for more heterodoxy in explaining economic action have been defending a pluralism for economics. In this article, I analyse these defences by scrutinizing the pluralistic qualities in the work of one of the major voices of heterodoxy, Tony Lawson. This scrutiny will focus on Lawson's alternatives concerning ontology and explanation to mainstream economics. Subsequently, I will raise some doubts about Lawson's pluralism, and identify questions that will have to be addressed by heterodox economists in order to (...) maintain the claim of pluralism. (shrink)
Furthering the dialogue with J. Wentzel van Huyssteen over his way of reconciling Christianity and science while reflecting on human uniqueness, I offer a philosophical analysis of the phenomenon of transsexuality. The focus of my analysis is the implications of transsexuality for the metaphysics of reductive naturalism. Envisioning a pluralistic ontology of the sexed human body, I propose to account for human sexuality within the general framework of normative pragmatism. The context of my reflections is a theology of sexual diversity, (...) which I believe van Huyssteen has good reasons to endorse. (shrink)
Upon what philosophical foundation are semantic network graphs based? Does this foundation allow for the legitimization of other semantic networks and ontological diversity? How can we design our computational and informational systems to accommodate this ontological diversity and the variety of semantic networks? Are semantic networks segmentations of larger semantic landscapes? This paper explores semantic networks from a Heideggerian existentialist and phenomenological perspective. The analysis presented uses cultural schema theory to bridge the syntactic and lexical elements to the (...) semantic and conceptual dimensions of semantic network graphs and offers reasons why the viability of such graphs as they are currently constructed are insufficient for creating semantic interoperability for our informationtechnologies. Reconceptualizing semantic networks as cultural landscapes offers us. (shrink)
North American society has undergone a period of sacralization where ideas of spirituality have increasingly been infused into the public domain. This sacralization is particularly evident in the nursing discourse where it is common to find claims about the nature of persons as inherently spiritual, about what a spiritually healthy person looks like and about the environment as spiritually energetic and interconnected. Nursing theoretical thinking has also used claims about the nature of persons, health, and the environment to attempt to (...) establish a unified ontology for the discipline. However, despite this common ground, there has been little discussion about the intersections between nursing philosophic thinking and the spirituality in nursing discourse, or about the challenges of adopting a common view of these claims within a spiritually pluralist society. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the call for ontological unity within nursing philosophic thinking in the context of the sacralization of a diverse society. I will begin with a discussion of secularization and sacralization, illustrating the diversity of beliefs and experiences that characterize the current trend towards sacralization. I will then discuss the challenges of a unified ontological perspective, or closed world view, for this diversity, using examples from both a naturalistic and a unitary perspective. I will conclude by arguing for a unified approach within nursing ethics rather than nursing ontology. (shrink)
Some scholars claim that Critical Realism promises well for the unification of the social sciences, e.g., "Unifying social science: A critical realist approach" in this volume. I will first show briefly how Critical Realism might unify social science. Secondly, I focus on the relation between the ontology and methodology of Critical Realism, and unveil the politics of metaphysics. Subsequently, it is argued that the division of labour between social scientific disciplines should not be metaphysics-driven, but rather question-driven. In conclusion, I (...) will therefore defend a question-driven pluralism as a guide for interdisciplinarity. (shrink)
Recently, Terry Horgan and Matjaž Potrč have defended the thesis of ‘existence monism’, according to which the whole cosmos is the only concrete object. Their arguments appeal largely to considerations concerning vagueness. Crucially, they claim that ontological vagueness is impossible, and one key assumption in their defence of this claim is that vagueness always involves ‘sorites-susceptibility’. I aim to challenge both the claim and this assumption. As a consequence, I seek to undermine their defence of existence monism and support (...) a common-sense pluralist ontology of ‘ordinary objects’ as being fully consistent with a thoroughgoing metaphysical realism. (shrink)
It is demonstrated that the reduction of a physical theory S to another one, T, in the sense that S can be derived from T holds in general only for the mathematical framework. The interpretation of S and the associated central terms cannot all be derived from those of T because of the qualitative differences between the cognitive levels of S and T. Their cognitively autonomous status leads to an epistemic as well as an ontologicalpluralism. This (...) class='Hi'>pluralism is consistent with the unity of nature in the sense of a substantive monism. (shrink)
In God, Mind and Logical Space István Aranyosi takes the reader on a journey for the mind by revisiting the fundamental questions and the everlasting debates in philosophy of religion, ontology, and the philosophy of mind. The first part deals with issues in ontology, and the author puts forward a radical view according to which all thinkable objects and states of affairs have an equal claim to existence in a way that renders existence a relative notion. In the second part (...) another radical view is argued for, according to which some objects and states of affairs that do not exist in our world are nevertheless present in our surroundings by being real in their consequences. The final part argues that the only way to prove the existence of God is to accept a view called Logical Pantheism, according to which God is identical to Logical Space. (shrink)
In the problem of the relationship between chemistry and physics, many authors take for granted the ontological reduction of the chemical world to the world of physics. The autonomy of chemistry is usually defended on the basis of the failure of epistemological reduction: not all chemical concepts and laws can be derived from the theoretical framework of physics. The main aim of this paper is to argue that this line of argumentation is not strong enough for eliminate the idea (...) of a hierarchical dependence of chemistry with respect to physics. The rejection of the secondary position of chemistry and the defense of the legitimacy of the philosophy of chemistry require a radically different philosophical perspective that denies not only epistemological reduction but also ontological reduction. Only on the basis of a philosophically grounded ontologicalpluralism it is possible to accept the ontological autonomy of the chemical world and, with this, to reverse the traditional idea of the ‘superiority’ of physics in the context of natural sciences. (shrink)
Individual substances are the ground of Aristotle’s ontology. Taking a liberal approach to existence, Aristotle accepts among existents entities in such categories other than substance as quality, quantity and relation; and, within each category, individuals and universals. As I will argue, individual substances are ontologically independent from all these other entities, while all other entities are ontologically dependent on individual substances. The association of substance with independence has a long history and several contemporary metaphysicians have pursued the connection. In this (...) chapter, I will discuss the intersection of these notions of substance and ontological dependence in Aristotle. I will canvass a few contemporary formulations of ontological dependence and discuss some of the interpretative difficulties in ascribing any of these formulations to Aristotle’s characterization of individual substances as ontologically independent. My aim is not to resolve fully these difficulties but to locate the topics of substance and independence relative to certain other controversies in Aristotle studies. However, I will sketch a position. In particular, elsewhere I have speculated that Aristotle is both a primitivist and a pluralist with respect to ontological dependence, and I will develop this line of interpretation a bit further later in the chapter. (shrink)
This essay aims at proposing a “philosophically important” form of scientific pluralism that captures essential features of contemporary scientific pratice largely ignored by the various forms of scientific pluralism currently discussed by philosophers. My starting point is Hacking’s concept of style of scentific reasoning, with a focus on its ontological import. I extend Hacking’s thesis by proposing the process of “ontological enrichment” to grasp how the objects created by a style articulate with the common objects of (...) scientific inquiry “out there in the world”. The result is “foliated pluralism”, which puts to the fore the transdisciplinary and cumulative ways of proceeding in science, as well as the historical dimension of the genesis of scientific objects. (shrink)
Internalist pluralism is an attractive and elegant theory. However, there are two apparently powerful objections to this approach that prevent its widespread adoption. According to the first objection, the resulting analysis of religious belief systems is intrinsically atheistic; while according to the second objection, the analysis is unsatisfactory because it allows religious objects simply to be defined into existence. In this article, I demonstrate that an adherent of internalist pluralism can deflect both of these objections, and in the (...) course of so arguing, I deploy a distinction between “conceptual-scheme targetability” and “successful conceptual-scheme targeting”. (shrink)
Central to Aristotle's metaphysics and epistemology is the claim that ‘ aitia ’ – ‘cause’ – is “said in many ways”, i.e., multivocal. Though the importance of the four causes in Aristotle's system cannot be overstated, the nature of his pluralism about aitiai has not been addressed. It is not at all obvious how these modes of causation are related to one another, or why they all deserve a common term. Nor is it clear, in particular, whether the causes (...) are related to one another as species under a single genus, such that there is a univocal definition of ‘ aitia ’ which applies to all of them, or whether Aristotle means to assert that the four causes are homonyms. It is argued here that although there are strong reasons to group the four causes together, there are also powerful considerations on the side of homonymy. It is further argued that the four causes are more closely tied to the ontological theory of categories and predication than is often recognized. As a result, we can reconcile the competing demands of unity and plurality by taking one mode of causation, the formal cause, as basic, and accounting for the other modes with reference to it, in the manner of so-called pros hen homonyms. (shrink)
This article argues that it is possible to bring the social sciences into evolutionary focus without being committed to a thesis the author calls ontological reductionism, which is a widespread predilection for lower-level explanations. After showing why we should reject ontological reductionism, the author argues that there is a way to construe cultural evolution that does justice to the autonomy of social science explanations. This paves the way for a liberal approach to explanation the author calls explanatory (...) class='Hi'>pluralism, which allows for the possibility of explaining cultural phenomena in terms of different evolutionary processes. Key Words: cultural evolution reductionism explanatory pluralism evolutionary psychology. (shrink)
This paper addresses questions of universality related to ontological engineering, namely aims at substantiating (negative) answers to the following three basic questions: (i) Is there a ‘universal ontology’?, (ii) Is there a ‘universal formal ontology language’?, and (iii) Is there a universally applicable ‘mode of reasoning’ for formal ontologies? To support our answers in a principled way, we present a general framework for the design of formal ontologies resting on two main principles: firstly, we endorse Rudolf Carnap’s principle of (...) logical tolerance by giving central stage to the concept of logical heterogeneity, i.e. the use of a plurality of logical languages within one ontology design. Secondly, to structure and combine heterogeneous ontologies in a semantically well-founded way, we base our work on abstract model theory in the form of institutional semantics, as forcefully put forward by Joseph Goguen and Rod Burstall. In particular, we employ the structuring mechanisms of the heterogeneous algebraic specification language HetCasl for defining a general concept of heterogeneous, distributed, highly modular and structured ontologies, called hyperontologies. Moreover, we distinguish, on a structural and semantic level, several different kinds of combining and aligning heterogeneous ontologies, namely integration, connection, and refinement. We show how the notion of heterogeneous refinement can be used to provide both a general notion of sub-ontology as well as a notion of heterogeneous equivalence of ontologies, and finally sketch how different modes of reasoning over ontologies are related to these different structuring aspects. (shrink)
University and William Bechtel Washington University Abstract Explanatory pluralism holds that the sorts of comprehensive theoretical and ontological economies, which microreductionists and New Wave reductionists envision and which antireductionists fear, offer misleading views of both scientific practice and scientific progress. Both advocates and foes of employing reductionist strategies at the interface of psychology and neuroscience have overplayed the alleged economies that interlevel connections (including identities) justify while overlooking their fundamental role in promoting scientific research. A brief review of (...) research on visual processing provides support for the explanatory pluralist=s general model of cross-scientific relations and discloses the valuable heuristic role hypothetical identities play in cross-scientific research. That model also supplies grounds for hesitation about the correlation objection to the psycho-physical identity theory and complaints about an explanatory gap in physicalist accounts of consciousness. These takes on psycho-neural connections miss both the sorts of considerations that motivate hypothetical identities in science and their fundamental contribution to progressive research. Thus, their focus on the contributions of research at multiple levels of analysis does not bar explanatory pluralists from considering heuristic identity theory (HIT). Arguably, it encourages it. (shrink)
Commenting on recent articles by Keith Sawyer and Julie Zahle, the author questions the way in which the debate between methodological individualists and holists has been presented and contends that too much weight has been given to metaphysical and ontological debates at the expense of giving attention to methodological debates and analysis of good explanatory practice. Giving more attention to successful explanatory practice in the social sciences and the different underlying epistemic interests and motivations for providing explanations or reducing (...) theories (which ask for different kinds of explanatory information to be found on the social or on the individual level) might lead to real progress in the debate on methodological individualism, and away from the unending battles of (metaphysical) intuitions. Key Words: methodological individualism • nonreductive materialism • pluralism • pragmatics of explanation. (shrink)
This paper attempts to provide a rationale for a 'model of the public sphere' in terms of hermeneutic ontology that begins from Heidegger's Being and Time. However, this Heideggerian hermeneutic ontology will both be weakened and extended through a dialogue with social theory, which occupies a central place in this paper. More specifically, the main aim of this paper is to suggest some ideas to bridge the gap between the ontological focus on the hermeneutic fore-structure of being-in-the-public-sphere and the (...) focus of social theory on the nexus between constructing identity and narrative, the result of which is the idea of the public sphere as an openended intercultural dialogue. (shrink)
After introductory reminder of and comments on Gödel’s ontological proof, we discuss the collapse of modalities, which is provable in Gödel’s ontological system GO. We argue that Gödel’s texts confirm modal collapse as intended consequence of his ontological system. Further, we aim to show that modal collapse properly fits into Gödel’s philosophical views, especially into his ontology of separation and union of force and fact, as well as into his cosmological theory of the nonobjectivity of the lapse (...) of time. As a result, modal collapse should not be conceived in Gödel so much as a deficit, but rather as a kind of the rise of modalities to the “perfect” being. We further show that, in accordance with Gödel’s ontology, the concepts of modality and time should be derived in terms of the “fundamental philosophical concept” of cause. To give an example of how a formalization of such causative Gödelian ontology and ontological proof might look, we propose the transformation of GO into a kind of causally re-interpreted justification logic. (shrink)
The typically dismissive treatment of Bradleian idealism, to the extent that it is based on philosophical criticism rather than historical bias, suffers from a failure to distinguish Bradley's negative views from his positive doctrines. But the intermingling of the two plays havoc in Bradley's own presentation, so that proper interpretation requires a particularly aggressive approach to the texts. Specifically, in denying a real multiplicity of facts, Bradley, though he may seem to be, is not attacking the commonsense belief that there (...) are many and disparate facts. His claim, as is confirmed by an examination of the analysis of judgement in The principles of logic, is that the facts ordinarily recognized are not those of the bona fide fact-pluralist, e.g. Mill. By getting Bradley's position straight, it becomes possible to tell an illuminating story about the early formation of ?analytic? philosophy, with its often bewildering faith in the ontological significance of logic. (shrink)
There are two different ways of understanding the notion of ‘ontological commitment’. A question about ‘what is said to be’ by a theory or ‘what a theory says there is’ deals with ‘explicit’ commitment; a question about the ontological costs or preconditions of the truth of a theory concerns ‘implicit’ commitment. I defend a conception of ontological commitment as implicit commitment, and argue that existentially quantified idioms in natural language are implicitly, but not explicitly, committing. I use (...) the distinction between the two kinds of ontological commitment to diagnose a flaw in a widely used argument to the effect that existential quantification is not ontologically committing. (shrink)
Many philosophers use “physicalism” and “naturalism” interchangeably. In this paper, I will distinguish ontological naturalism from physicalism. While broad versions of physicalism are compatible with naturalism, naturalism doesn't have to be committed to strong versions of physical reductionism, so it cannot be defined as equivalent to it. Instead of relying on the notion of ideal physics, naturalism can refer to the notion of ideal natural science that doesn't imply unity of science. The notion of ideal natural science, as well (...) as the notion of ideal physics, will be vindicated. I will shortly explicate the notion of ideal natural science, and define ontological naturalism based on it. (shrink)
Motivational externalists and internalists of various sorts disagree about the circumstances under which it is conceptually possible to have moral opinions but lack moral motivation. Typically, the evidence referred to are intuitions about whether people in certain scenarios who lack moral motivation count as having moral opinions. People’s intuitions about such scenarios diverge, however. I argue that the nature of this diversity is such that, for each of the internalist and externalist theses, there is a strong prima facie reason to (...) reject it. That much might not be very controversial. But I argue further, that it also gives us a strong prima facie reason to reject all of these theses. This is possible since there is an overlooked alternative option to accepting any of them: moral motivation pluralism , the view that different internalist and externalist theses correctly accounts for different people’s concepts of moral opinions, respectively. I end the paper with a discussion of methodological issues relevant to the argument for moral motivation pluralism and of the consequences of this view for theories about the nature of moral opinions, such as cognitivism and non-cognitivism. (shrink)
I describe an account of ontological categories which does justice to the facts that not all categories are ontological categories and that ontological categories can stand in containment relations. The account sorts objects into different categories in the same way in which grammar sorts expressions . It then identifies the ontological categories with those which play a certain role in the systematization of collections of categories. The paper concludes by noting that on my account what (...) class='Hi'>ontological categories there are is partially interest-relative, and that furthermore no object can belong essentially to its ontological category. (shrink)
According to the familiar Quinean understanding of ontological commitment, (1) one undertakes ontological commitments only via theoretical regimentations, and (2) ontological commitments are to be identified with the domain of a theory’s quantifiers. Jody Azzouni accepts (1), but rejects (2). Azzouni accepts (1) because he believes that no vernacular expression carries ontological commitments. He rejects (2) by locating a theory’s commitments with the extension of an existence predicate. I argue that Azzouni’s two theses undermine each other. (...) If ontological commitments follow from predications of existence, then ontological commitments can be expressed in the vernacular via negative existential sentences. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that Kant's famous critique of the Ontological Argument largely begs the question against that argument, and is no better when supplemented by the modern quantificational analysis of "exists." In particular, I argue that the claim, common to Hume and Kant, that conceptual truths can never entail substantive existential claims is false,and thus no ground for rejecting the Ontological Argument.
The priority monist holds that the cosmos is the only fundamental object, of which every other concrete object is a dependent part. One major argument against monism goes back to Russell, who claimed that pluralism is favoured by common sense. However, Jonathan Schaffer turns this argument on its head and uses it to defend priority monism. He suggests that common sense holds that the cosmos is a whole, of which ordinary physical objects are arbitrary portions, and that arbitrary portions (...) depend for their existence on the existence of the whole. In this paper, we challenge Schaffer’s claim that the parts of the cosmos are all arbitrary portions. We suggest that there is a way of carving up the universe such that at least some of its parts are not arbitrary. We offer two arguments in support of this claim. First, we shall outline semantic reasons in its favour: in order to accept that empirical judgements are made true or false by the way the world is, one must accept that the cosmos includes parts whose existence is not arbitrary. Second, we offer an ontological argument: in order for macro-physical phenomena to exist, there must be some micro-physical order which they depend upon, and this order must itself be non-arbitrary. We conclude that Schaffer’s common sense argument for monism cannot be made to work. (shrink)
This brief commentary has three goals. The first is to argue that ‘‘framework debate’’ in cognitive science is unresolvable. The idea that one theory or framework can singly account for the vast complexity and variety of cognitive processes seems unlikely if not impossible. The second goal is a consequence of this: We should consider how the various theories on offer work together in diverse contexts of investigation. A final goal is to supply a brief review for readers who are compelled (...) by these points to explore existing literature on the topic. Despite this literature, pluralism has garnered very little attention from broader cognitive science. We end by briefly considering what it might mean for theoretical cognitive science. (shrink)
In recent years, the ontological argument and theistic metaphysics have been criticized by philosophers working in both the analytic and continental traditions. Responses to these criticisms have primarily come from philosophers who make use of the traditional, and problematic, concept of God. In this volume, Daniel A. Dombrowski defends the ontological argument against its contemporary critics, but he does so by using a neoclassical or process concept of God, thereby strengthening the case for a contemporary theistic metaphysics. Relying (...) on the thought of Charles Hartshorne, he builds on Hartshorne's crucial distinction between divine existence and divine actuality, which enables neoclassical defenders of the ontological argument to avoid the familiar criticism that the argument moves illegitimately from an abstract concept to concrete reality. His argument, thus, avoids the problems inherent in the traditional concept of God as static. (shrink)
Functionalists about truth employ Ramsification to produce an implicit definition of the theoretical term _true_, but doing so requires determining that the theory introducing that term is itself true. A variety of putative dissolutions to this problem of epistemic circularity are shown to be unsatisfactory. One solution is offered on functionalists' behalf, though it has the upshot that they must tread on their anti-pluralist commitments.
Although a considerable degree of precision has been introduced both into the formulation and the discussion of ontological theories by the use of formal methods there is still a remarkable indefiniteness about foundational issues. In particular it is not clear what an ontological category is and why we regard something as an ontological category. This is amazing given that the notion of ontological category is in fact the most basic of the whole of ontology: it is (...) what this discipline is about. (shrink)
Abstract: There is a long tradition of trying to analyze art either by providing a definition (essentialism) or by tracing its contours as an indefinable, open concept (anti-essentialism). Both art essentialists and art anti-essentialists share an implicit assumption of art concept monism. This article argues that this assumption is a mistake. Species concept pluralism—a well-explored position in philosophy of biology—provides a model for art concept pluralism. The article explores the conditions under which concept pluralism is appropriate, and (...) argues that they obtain for art. Art concept pluralism allows us to recognize that different art concepts are useful for different purposes, and what has been feuding definitions can be seen as characterizations of specific art concepts. (shrink)
Pluralism: The Philosophy and Politics of Diversity is the first volume to open the window on philosophical pluralism and link pluralist themes in philosophy and politics. It advances recent debates on political pluralism in a range of essays that challenge or defend the association of liberalism and pluralism. The volume is divided into three parts: an investigation of the philosophical sources of pluralism, including an essay on William James; the value of pluralism and liberalism, (...) discussing the compatibility of these ideas; and an investigation of difference in pluralism, with writing on women, ethnocultural, and the public-private distinction. (shrink)
This paper approaches "multiculturalism" obliquely via conceptions of social and political pluralism in the pragmatist tradition. As a matter of social analysis, the advent of multiculturalism implies some loss of confidence in our prior conceptions of accommodating ethnic, social, and religious diversity: the conversion of traditional American cultural diversity into a war of political interest groups. This, and the corresponding tendency toward cultural relativism and "anything goes," is fundamentally a product of over-centralization and cultural-political exhaustion in the wake of (...) the long ordeal of the Cold War. An over-emphasis on the political, and national centralization, has pressured our cultural variety toward more political forms, and "multiculturalism" is both product and backlash.<br><br> Many issues connected with the general theme of multiculturalism parallel philosophical debates on objectivity and the diversity of cultural perspectives. Successful treatments of these themes, drawing on the pragmatist tradition, need to be developed and applied to contemporary problems. The general approach here emphasizes a relative autonomy of religious, ethnic, and cultural-racial groups, the need to be wary of both exclusion and self-insulation, and the roles of individuals in mediating group differences. In the concluding section, specific issues relating religious pluralism and secularism will be addressed.<br><br>. (shrink)
Although it’s sometimes thought that pluralism about truth is unstable---or, worse, just a non-starter---it’s surprisingly difficult to locate collapsing arguments that conclusively demonstrate either its instability or its inability to get started. This paper exemplifies the point by examining three recent arguments to that effect. However, it ends with a cautionary tale; for pluralism may not be any better off than other traditional theories that face various technical objections, and may be worse off in facing them all.
‘Value pluralism’ as traditionally understood is the metaphysical thesis that there are many values that cannot be ‘reduced’ to a single supervalue. While it is widely assumed that value pluralism is true, the case for value pluralism depends on resolution of a neglected question in value theory: how are values properly individuated? Value pluralism has been thought to be important in two main ways. If values are plural, any theory that relies on value monism, for example, (...) hedonistic utilitarianism, is mistaken. The plurality of values is also thought to raise problems for rational choice. If two irreducibly distinct values conflict, it seems that there is no common ground that justifies choosing one over the other. The metaphysical plurality of values does not, however, have the implications for rational choice that many have supposed. A charitable interpretation of value pluralist writings suggests a ‘nonreductive’ form of value pluralism. Nonreductive value pluralism maintains that in the context of practical choice, there are differences between values—whether or not those values reduce to a single supervalue—that have important implications for rational choice. This article examines the main arguments for metaphysical value pluralism, argues that metaphysical value pluralism does not have certain implications that it is widely thought to have, and outlines three forms of nonreductive value pluralism. -/- . (shrink)
Traditional inflationary approaches that specify the nature of truth are attractive in certain ways; yet, while many of these theories successfully explain why propositions in certain domains of discourse are true, they fail to adequately specify the nature of truth because they run up against counterexamples when attempting to generalize across all domains. One popular consequence is skepticism about the efficaciousness of inﬂationary approaches altogether. Yet, by recognizing that the failure to explain the truth of disparate propositions often stems from (...) inflationary approaches' allegiance to alethic monism, pluralist approaches are able to avoid this explanatory inadequacy and the resulting skepticism, though at the cost of inviting other conceptual difficulties. A novel approach, alethic functionalism, attempts to circumvent the problems faced by pluralist approaches while preserving their main insights. Unfortunately, it too generates additional problems---namely, with its suspect appropriation of the multiple realizability paradigm and its platitude-based strategy---that need to be dissolved before it can constitute an adequate inflationary approach to the nature of truth. (shrink)
What is truth? What precisely is it that truths have that falsehoods lack? Pluralists about truth (or “alethic pluralists”) tend to answer these questions by saying that there is more than one way for a proposition, sentence, belief—or any chosen truth-bearer—to be true. In this paper, I argue that two of the most influential formations of alethic pluralism, those of Wright (1992, 2003a) and Lynch (2009), are subject to serious problems. I outline a new formulation, which I call “simple (...) determination pluralism,” that I claim offers better prospects for alethic pluralism, with the potential to have applications for pluralist theories beyond truth. (shrink)
This book is a unique contribution to the philosophy of religion. It offers a comprehensive discussion of one of the most famous arguments for the existence of God: the ontological argument. The author provides and analyses a critical taxonomy of those versions of the argument that have been advanced in recent philosophical literature, as well as of those historically important versions found in the work of St Anselm, Descartes, Leibniz, Hegel and others. A central thesis of the book is (...) that ontological arguments have no value in the debate between theists and atheists. There is a detailed review of the literature on the topic (separated from the main body of the text) and a very substantial bibliography, making this volume an indispensable resource for philosophers of religion and others interested in religious studies. (shrink)
This was an attempt to show what is wrong with Anselm’s ‘Ontological Argument’ for the existence of God. My present view is that Peter Millican has given us a similar, but much better line of attack in his “The One Fatal Flaw….” Paper.
Respect, Pluralism, and Justice is a series of essays which sketches a broadly Kantian framework for moral deliberation, and then uses it to address important social and political issues. Hill shows how Kantian theory can be developed to deal with questions about cultural diversity, punishment, political violence, responsibility for the consequences of wrongdoing, and state coercion in a pluralistic society.
What at bottom is meant by calling the universe many or by calling it one? -/- Pragmatically interpreted, pluralism or the doctrine that it is many means only that the sundry parts of reality may be externally related. Everything you can think of, however vast or inclusive, has on the pluralistic view a genuinely "external" environment of some sort or amount. Things are "with" one another in many ways, but nothing includes everything, or dominates over everything. The word "and" (...) trails along after every sentence. Something always escapes. "Ever not quite" has to be said of the best attempts made anywhere in the universe at attaining all-inclusiveness. The pluralistic world is thus more like a federal republic than like an empire or a kingdom. However much may be collected, however much may report itself as present at any effective centre of consciousness or action, something else is self-governed and absent and unreduced to unity. -/- Monism, on the other hand, insists that when you come down to reality as such, to the reality of realities, everything is present to everything else in one vast instantaneous co-implicated completeness -- nothing can in any sense, functional or substantial, be really absent from anything else, all things interpenetrate and telescope together in the great total conflux. (shrink)
In Liberalism and Pluralism, Richard Bellamy explores the challenges posed by conflicting values, interests and identities to liberal democracy. Conventional liberal thought is no longer suited to the complex, plural societies of today. By analyzing the three major strands of liberal thought as represented by Hayek, Rawls and Walzer, the author reveals how standard liberalism has tried to circumvent unstable settlements. This book establishes a more satisfactory alternative: namely, negotiated compromise.
Table of Contents: Politics, morality, and pluralism -- Liberal morality and political legitimacy -- Political legitimacy and social justice -- Williams's concept of the political -- Legitimacy, stability, and morality -- The politics of morality -- A moral point of view -- Manners and morality -- Morality and conflict -- Moral conflict and political theory -- The morality of politics -- Feminism and multiculturalism -- A defense of culture -- Politics and normative conflict -- The political as moral viewpoint (...) -- Morality and politics: a review -- Political unity and pluralism -- The liberal archipelago -- Loose linkage and political legitimacy -- Political unity and the body politic -- Social justice and political unity -- The bonds of civility -- Nationhood and the liberal polity -- The nature of nationhood -- Pluralism and nationalism -- Nationalism and social justice -- Deliberative democracy and the liberal polity -- Liberalism and democracy -- Democracy and deliberative discourse -- The terms of deliberative discourse -- Normative discourse and political legitimacy -- Deliberative democracy and intragroup politics -- Group autonomy and intergroup discourse -- Politics, history, and reason -- Principle and justice in the liberal polity -- Liberal institutions and liberal ideals -- Stopping history -- Rationalism and politics. (shrink)
In this book, Robert Talisse critically examines the moral and political implications of pluralism, the view that our best moral thinking is indeterminate and that moral conflict is an inescapable feature of the human condition. Through a careful engagement with the work of William James, Isaiah Berlin, John Rawls, and their contemporary followers, Talisse distinguishes two broad types of moral pluralism: metaphysical and epistemic. After arguing that metaphysical pluralism does not offer a compelling account of value and (...) thus cannot ground a viable conception of liberal politics, Talisse proposes and defends a distinctive variety of epistemic pluralism. According to this view, certain value conflicts are at present undecidable rather than intrinsic. Consequently, epistemic pluralism countenances the possibility that further argumentation, enhanced reflection, or the acquisition of more information could yield rational resolutions to the kinds of value conflicts that metaphysical pluralists deem irresolvable as such. Talisse’s epistemic pluralism hence prescribes a politics in which deep value conflicts are to be addressed by ongoing argumentation and free engagement among citizens; the epistemic pluralist thus sees liberal democracy is the proper political response to ongoing moral disagreement. While developing his view, Talisse engages central issues in contemporary liberal political theory, including toleration, state neutrality, public justification, and the accommodation of illiberal sub-cultures. This book will be of interest to ethicists, political philosophers, and political scientists. (shrink)
I argue that Kant's and Frege's refutations of the ontological argument are more similar than has generally been acknowledged. As I clarify, for both Kant and Frege, to say that something exists is to assert of a concept that it is instantiated. With such an assertion one expresses that there is a particular relation between the instantiating object and a rational subject - a particular mode of presentation for the object in question. By its very nature such a relation (...) cannot be the property of an object and thus cannot be included in the concept of that object. Thus the ontological argument, which takes existence to be a part of the concept of the supreme being, cannot, according to Kant and Frege, succeed. A secondary goal of the paper is to illuminate what I take to be an important affinity between Kant's and Frege's views more generally: that Frege's fundamental distinction between the sense and the referent of a proposition echoes, in an important way, Kant's distinction between concepts and the formal principles for their application to experience. (shrink)
In his "Ontological proof", Kurt Gödel introduces the notion of a second-order value property, the positive property P. The second axiom of the proof states that for any property φ: If φ is positive, its negation is not positive, and vice versa. I put forward that this concept of positiveness leads into a paradox when we apply it to the following self-reflexive sentences: (A) The truth value of A is not positive; (B) The truth value of B is positive. (...) Given axiom 2, sentences A and B paradoxically cannot be both true or both false, and it is also impossible that one of the sentences is true whereas the other is false. (shrink)
There have been attempts to get some logic out of belief dynamics, i.e. attempts to deﬁne the constants of propositional logic in terms of functions from sets of beliefs to sets of beliefs. It is interesting to see whether something similar can be done for ontological categories, i.e. ontological constants. The theory presented here will be a (modest) expansion of belief dynamics: it will not only incorporate beliefs, but also parts of beliefs, so called belief fragments. On the (...) basis of this we will give a belief-dynamical account of the ontological categories of states of aﬀairs, individuals, properties of arbitrary adicities and properties of arbitrary orders. (shrink)
The moral and political philosophy of pluralism has become increasingly influential. To pluralists, when values genuinely conflict we should aim to strike an appropriate balance or trade-off between them, though this means accepting that compromise will be inevitable. Politics, as a result, appears as a thoroughly tragic affair. Drawing on a "hermeneutical" conception of interpretation, the author develops an original account of practical reasoning, one which assumes that, though making compromises in the face of conflicts is indeed often unavoidable, (...) there are times when reconciliation, as distinct from compromise, is feasible. For this to be so, however, citizens must strive to converse--and not just negotiate--with each other, thus fulfilling the good that is at the heart of their shared political community. This is the central message of the patriotic alternative to pluralist politics that the author defends here. (shrink)
Published in: Edwina Taborsky, ed. (1999): Semiosis. Evolution. Energy: Towards a Reconceptualization of the Sign. Shaker Verlag, Aachen. (pp. 89-108). The book is based on the meeting "Semiosis. Evolution. Energy, Third International Conference on Semiotics", Victoria Collage, University of Toronto, Canada, October 17-19, 1997 (programme and list of papers, see the SEE web page:http://www.library.utoronto.ca/see).
In The Crane's Walk, Jeremy Barris seeks to show that we can conceive and live with a pluralism of standpoints with conflicting standards for truth--with the truth of each being entirely unaffected by the truth of the others. He argues that Plato's work expresses this kind of pluralism, and that this pluralism is important in its own right, whether or not we agree about what Plato's standpoint is.The longest tradition of Plato scholarship identifies crucial faults in Plato's (...) theory of Ideas. Barris argues that Plato deliberately displayed those faults, because he wanted to demonstrate that basic kinds of error or illogic have dimensions that are crucial to the establishing of truth. These dimensions legitimate a paradoxical coordination of logically incompatible conceptions of truth. Connecting this idea with emerging currents of Plato scholarship, he emphasizes, in addition to the dialogues' arguments, the importance of their nonargumentative features, including drama, myths, fictions, anecdotes, and humor. These unanalyzed nonargumentative features function rigorously, as a lever with which to examine the enterprise of rational argument itself, without presupposing its standards or illegitimately assimilating any position to the standards of another.Today, communities are torn apart by conflicts within and between a host of different pluralist and absolutist commitments. The possibility developed in this book-a coordination of absolute and relative truth that allows an understanding of some relativist and some absolutist positions as being fully legitimate and as capable of existing in a relation to their opposites-may contribute to perspectives for resolving these conflicts. (shrink)
Nicholas Rescher presents a critical reaction against two currently influential tendencies of thought. On the one hand, he rejects the facile relativism that pervades contemporary social and academic life. On the other hand, he opposes the rationalism inherent in neo-contractarian theory--both in the idealized communicative-contract version promoted in continental European political philosophy by J;urgen Habermas, and in the idealized social contract version of the theory of political justice promoted in the Anglo-American context by John Rawls. Against such tendencies, Rescher's pluralist (...) approach takes a more realistic and pragmatic line, eschewing the convenient recourse of idealization in cognitive and practical matters. Instead of a utopianism that looks to a uniquely perfect order that would prevail under ideal conditions, he advocates incremental improvements within the framework of arrangements that none of us will deem perfect but that all of us "can live with." Such an approach replaces the yearning for an unattainable consensus with the institution of pragmatic arrangements in which the community will acquiesce--not through agreeing on their optimality, but through a shared recognition among the dissonant parties that the available options are even worse. (shrink)
This paper describes the processes of cognitive modeling and representation of human expertise for developing an ontology and knowledge base of an expert system. An ontology is an organization and classification of knowledge. Ontological engineering in artificial intelligence (AI) has the practical goal of constructing frameworks for knowledge that allow computational systems to tackle knowledge-intensive problems and supports knowledge sharing and reuse. Ontological engineering is also a process that facilitates construction of the knowledge base of an intelligent system, (...) which can be defined as a computer program that can duplicate problem-solving capabilities of human experts in specific areas. This paper presents the processes of knowledge acquisition, analysis, and representation, which laid the basis for ontology construction. In this case, the processes are applied in ontological engineering for construction of an expert system in the domain of monitoring of a petroleum production and separation facility. The acquired knowledge was also formally represented in two knowledge acquisition tools. (shrink)
Pluralism is an appealing and now orthodox view of the sources of value. But pluralism has led to well-known difficulties for social-choice theory. Moreover, as Susan Hurley has argued, the difficulties of pluralism go even deeper. In 1954, Kenneth May suggested an intrapersonal analogue to Arrow's Impossibility Theorem. In brief, May showed that an individual's response to a plurality of values will, given certain additional assumptions, lead to intransitive preference orderings. (Daniel Kahneman and others have shown that (...) intransitivity is an empirical feature of preferences.) Hurley challenged May's additional assumptions as implausibly strong; but her work did not exclude the possibility that values may disobey the canon of rationality that insists on transitivity. John Broome has recently extended these canons to the "betterness" relation. This chapter argues that there is no good reason to be confident that values, understood as real features of the world, behave consistently with those canons. (shrink)
In this comment, I first point out some problems in McCauley's defense of the traditional conception of general analytical levels. Then I present certain reductionist arguments against explanatory pluralism that are not based on the New Wave model of intertheoretic reduction, against which McCauley is arguing. Reductionists that are not committed to this model might not have problems incorporating research on long-term diachronic processes in their analyses. In the last part of the paper, I briefly compare Robert N. McCauley's (...) conception of reduction to some other current accounts, highlighting the differences between them. (shrink)
This paper discusses the proposal made by Lombardi and Labarca (Found Chem 7:125–148, 2005) that internal realism can secure the ontological autonomy of chemistry. I argue that internal realism is not, by itself, sufficient to accomplish this task. The fact that conceptual schemes may differ with respect to their theoretical virtues, and the possibility that the relations between them may be reductive undermine the premise that each conceptual scheme has an equal right to define its own ontology, which is (...) a key premise in Lombardi and Labarca’s proposal. (shrink)
Explanatory pluralism has been defended by several philosophers of history and social science, recently, for example, by Tor Egil Førland in this journal. In this article, we provide a better argument for explanatory pluralism, based on the pragmatist idea of epistemic interests. Second, we show that there are three quite different senses in which one can be an explanatory pluralist: one can be a pluralist about questions, a pluralist about answers to questions, and a pluralist about both. We (...) defend the last position. Finally, our third aim is to argue that pluralism should not be equated with “anything goes”: we will argue for non-relativistic explanatory pluralism. This pluralism will be illustrated by examples from history and social science in which different forms of explanation (for example, structural, functional, and intentional explanations) are discussed, and the fruitfulness of our framework for understanding explanatory pluralism is shown. (shrink)
Culturally diverse liberal democracies on both sides of the Atlantic are currently faced with serious questions about the education of their future citizens. What is the balance between the need for social cohesion, and at the same time dealing justly with the demands for exemptions and accommodations from cultural and religious minorities? In contemporary Britain, the importance of this question has been recently highlighted by the concern to develop political and educational strategies capable of countering the influence of extremist voices, (...) in both the majority and minority communities. Starting from recent debates in North America about possible accommodations to meet the concerns of non-liberal religious groups, the book goes on to examine several issues centered on education in culturally-diverse societies. Neil Burtonwood argues persuasively that the work of Isaiah Berlin, the British philosopher and historian of ideas, has considerable potential for illuminating questions about a properly liberal response to pluralism, and the education of cultural minority children in a liberal democracy. This is the first book to bring his writing to bear on education. Berlin's liberalism is distinctive in attending to the benefits that individuals gain from their memberships of cultural identity groups and religious communities, while remaining committed to Enlightenment values based on individual freedom. Yet his need to find compromises to balance the claims of individuals and groups makes Berlin's version of liberal pluralism so relevant to many vital questions of education policy and practice that concern philosophers of education today. (shrink)
Pluralism is an essential feature of liberal democratic theory and practice and rests upon the fundemental value of tolerance. Today, although there is widespread commitment to various forms of constitutional representative democracy, and although globalization has diminished the political, economic, and cultural significance of borders, at the same time, there has been a marked world-wide increase in conflict, tormoil, and violence based upon ethnic, religious, and regional identities. This latter trend, a sort of 21st century balkanization, is a serious (...) threat to pluralism. -/- This contribution to REGIONAL POLICIES IN EUROPE: SOFT FEATURES FOR INNOVATIVE CROSS-BORDER COOPERATION defines pluralism and argues for its advantages. It also makes an argument against an approach for dealing with identity-based activities and claims which advocates the recognition of special group rights and privileges. The piece concludes by proposing conditions under which pluralism might prosper and expand, and by suggesting the kind of public policies likely to foster such conditions. -/- David T. Risser, Millersville University of Pennsylvania, Dept. of Government & Political Affairs. (shrink)
The Architectonics of Meaning is a lucid demonstration of the purposes, methods, and implications of philosophical semantics that both supports and builds on Richard McKeon's and other noted pluralists' convictions that multiple philosophical approaches are viable. Watson ingeniously explores ways to systematize these approaches, and the result is a well-structured instrument for understanding texts. This book exemplifies both general and particular aspects of systematic pluralism, reorienting our understanding of the realms of knowing, doing, and making.
The modus operandi of this book is contextual—throughout he demonstrates how ideas emerge from or are inspired by particular environments. And the need to put philosophical ideas in their larger historical and cultural context so as to fully understand them is, as will be illustrated below, a facet of his philosophical method. Another of its facets is fallibilism, a deep commitment to subjecting all theories and concepts (in any field) to incessant scrutiny, testing, correction, and clarification. This suggests that a (...) totality of knowledge of the world or the absolute truth about things is a pair of ideals impossible of realization and approachable at best asymptotically. If his method is contextualist and fallilbilist, then his metaphysics is pluralistic. In his view reality is not reducible to just one single substance or principle but instead is constituted irreducibly of many different kinds of thing or principles. He is thus implacably opposed to any form of ontological monism—what James designates a “block-universe”—and Hegelian absolutism. Callaway conceives of the world as a Jamesian multiverse. Contextualism, fallibilism, and pluralism, then, are the themes brought to the fore in his book and which emerge from his travels at home and abroad. (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)
In his 2010 article, ‘Secular Spirituality and the Logic of Giving Thanks’, John Bishop recalls a striking theme in a recent address by Richard Dawkins in which he appeared to enthusiastically endorse the appropriateness of a ‘naturalised spirituality’ that involved ‘existential gratitude’, and this led him to investigate the notion of a naturalised or secular spirituality with particular reference to Robert Solomon’s Spirituality for the Skeptic (2002). This essay looks to pick up on Bishop’s engagements with both Dawkins and Solomon, (...) but to extend the conversation well beyond them in order to defend the credibility and integrity of secular spirituality in its movement of ontological gratitude. In this way it looks to offer a first sketch of what might be termed a ‘hermeneutics of ontological gratitude’. To this end – and via a distinction between gratitude for existence and life – the essay considers Dawkins’ argument and Solomon’s work in further detail, before turning to consider various other perspectives on the problem including Kenneth Schmitz’s existential Thomist notion of ontological contingency, Hannah Arendt’s concept of primary natality, and Emmanuel Levinas’ sketch of the self in its interiority and economy. My claim is that any serious naturalistic spirituality needs to take into account not only a gratitude for one’s existence per se, but for the whole context of individual and collective being. (shrink)
Much has been said on the religious pluralism of John Hick but little attention has been given to a key step in his argument for religious pluralism. This key step is the observation that the universe is religiously ambiguous. Hick himself is ambiguous about what he means by ‘religious ambiguity’. In this essay I will attempt to rectify this ambiguity by analysing the notion of ‘religious ambiguity’ and arguing what interpretation of this term Hick must commit himself to.
In this paper we argue that Sen's defence of liberal democracy suffers from a moralistic and pro-liberal bias that renders it unable to take pluralism as seriously as it professes to do. That is because Sen’s commitment to respecting pluralism is not matched by his account of how to individuate the sorts of preferences that ought to be included in democratic deliberation. Our argument generalises as a critique of the two most common responses to the fact of (...) class='Hi'>pluralism in contemporary (i.e. post-Rawls) liberalism: a broadly procedural understanding of autonomy and the idea of deliberative democracy. That is to say, the difficulties with pluralism we identify can be traced back to the particular version of Kantian deontology prevalent in contemporary liberalism, and to the equally prevalent aspiration to ground political legitimacy in a moralised consensus. (shrink)
The most basic argument for moral relativism is that different people are (fundamentally) disposed to apply moral terms, such as ‘morally right’ and ‘morally wrong’, and the corresponding concepts, to different (types of) acts. In this paper, I argue that the standard forms of moral relativism fail to account for certain instances of fundamental variation, namely, variation in metaethical intuitions, and I develop a form of relativism—pluralism—that does account for them. I identify two challenges that pluralism faces. To (...) answer the challenges, I first argue that, due to fundamental conceptual variations in ordinary descriptive (nonmoral) discourse, a form of pluralism holds there as well and that this pluralism can answer the corresponding challenges. I then argue that the answers transfer to moral discourse, since the phenomenon of moral variation is structurally identical to that of descrip- tive variation. (shrink)
Pluralism is popular among philosophers of biology. This essay argues that negative judgments about universal biology, while understandable, are very premature. Familiar life on Earth represents a single example of life and, most importantly, there are empirical as well as theoretical reasons for suspecting that it may be unrepresentative. Scientifically compelling generalizations about the unity of life (or lack thereof) must await the discovery of forms of life descended from an alternative origin, the most promising candidate being the discovery (...) of extraterrestrial life. Nonetheless, in the absence of additional examples of life, we are best off exploring the microbial world for promising explanatory concepts, principles, and mechanisms rather than prematurely giving up on universal biology. Unicellular microbes (especially prokaryotes) are by far the oldest, metabolically most diverse, and environmentally tolerant form of life on our planet. Yet somewhat ironically, much of our theorizing about life still implicitly privileges complex multicellular eukaryotes, which are now understood to be highly specialized, fragile latecomers to Earth. The problem with pursuing a pluralist approach to understanding life is that it is likely to blind us to the significance of just those entities and causal processes most likely to shed light on the underlying nature of life. (shrink)
William E. Connolly’s writings have pushed the leading edge of political theory, first in North America and then in Europe as well, for more than two decades now. This book draws on his numerous influential books and articles to provide a coherent and comprehensive overview of his significant contribution to the field of political theory. The book focuses in particular on three key areas of his thinking: Democracy: his work in democratic theory - through his critical challenges to the traditions (...) of Rawlsian theories of justice and Habermasian theories of deliberative democracy - has spurred the creation of a fertile and powerful new literature Pluralism - Connolly's work utterly transformed the terrain of the field by helping to resignify pluralism: from a conservative theory of order based on the status quo into a radical theory of democratic contestation based on a progressive political vision The Terms of Political Theory - Connolly has changed the language in which Anglo-American political theory is spoken, and entirely shuffled the pack with which political theorists work. (shrink)
This paper aims at discussing the usage by Davidson as to events of Quine's criterion of ontological commitment. According to Davidson, we are ontologically committed to the existence of events as individuals as we employ literally terms such as ‘Caesar’s death’, for instance. Davidson extends this analysis to actions as well, since actions are human events. One of the consequences of this view is that psychology deals with individual events in a non-lawful way. An alternative view is here proposed, (...) based on a complementary criterion, namely ontological density, according to which from the point of view of a given theory, we can always distinguish between events (or phenomena) and individuals (entities) among the overall occurrences described by the theory. Some consequences of this alternative view of psychology as a science dealing lawfully with general human events are also explored here. (shrink)
Pluralism in Theory and Practice not only brings McKeon to the attention of contemporary philosophers and students; it also puts his theories into practice. Some of the essays explicate aspects of McKeon's thought or situate him in the context of American intellectual and practical engagement. Others take the concerns he raised as starting points for inquiries into urgent contemporary problems, or, in some cases, for reexamining McKeon's work as fertile ground for shaping the direction of new investigation.
Proof and perception : the context of the argumentum cartesianum -- Refutations of atheism : ontological arguments in English philosophy, 1652-1705 -- Being and intuition : Malebranche's appropriation of the argument -- An adequate conception : the argument in Spinoza's philosophy -- Ontological arguments in Leibniz and the German enlightenment -- Kant's systematic critique of the ontological argument -- Hegel's reconstruction of the argument.
Our analysis reveals two major types of "Community of Learners" (COL) projects: instrumental and ontological. In instrumental COL, the notion of community is separated from instruction in order to reach some preset endpoints: curricular or otherwise. We notice three main instrumental COL models: relational, instructional, and engagement. Ontological COL redefines learning as an ill-defined, distributed, social, multi-faceted, poly-goal, agency-based, and situated process that integrates all educational aspects. We will consider two ontological COL projects into: narrowly dialogic and (...) polyphonic. (shrink)
Some time ago, Quine once asserted that to be is to be value of a variable. This entails that if one wishes to accept any theory as true, we must be committed to the existence of those objects over which we existentially quantify. I suggest instead that we are committed to the existence only of those things that have at least some intrinsic contingent properties. Any discourse that involves existential quantification over entities whose instrinsic properties can change will, of necessity, (...) be given an objectual interpretation. In contrast, by default, all discourse that involves existential quantification over objects all of whose instrinsic properties are essential will be given a substitutional interpretation, leaving open room for debate about whether the discourse in question ought to be given an objectual interpretation. This alternative conception of what constitutes ontological commitment does not entail that we must be committed to the existence of mathematical entities, sets, or even of properties. However, it can still make good sense of the disagreements over whether such entities exist. Those disagreements are disagreements about how to understand the relevant quantifiers. (shrink)
The relative merits and demerits of historically prominent views such as the correspondence theory, coherentism, pragmatism, verificationism, and instrumentalism have been subject to much attention in the truth literature and have fueled the long-lived debate over which of these views is the most plausible one. While diverging in their specific philosophical commitments, adherents of these historically prominent views agree in at least one fundamental respect. They are all alethic monists. They all endorse the thesis that there is only one property (...) in virtue of which propositions can be true, and so, in this sense, take truth to be one. The truth pluralist, on the other hand, rejects this idea. There are several properties in virtue of which propositions can be true. The literature on truth pluralism has been growing steadily for the past twenty years. This volume, however, is the first of its kind—the first collection of papers focused specifically on pluralism about truth. Part I is dedicated to the development, investigation, and critical discussion of different forms of pluralism. An additional reason to look at truth pluralism with interest is the significant connections it bears to other debates in the truth literature—the debates concerning traditional theories of truth and the deflationism/inflationism divide being cases in hand. Parts II and III of the volume connect truth pluralism to these two debates. (shrink)
Introduction : At a turning point -- Everyday life -- Modes of reflection -- Philosophical problems -- The pluralistic approach -- The meaning of life -- The possibility of free action -- The place of morality in good lives -- The art of life -- The nature of human self-understanding --Conclusion : The human world.
The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), designed by the WHO, attempts to provide a holistic model of functioning and disability by integrating a medical model with a social one. The aim of this article is to analyze the ICF’s claim to holism. The following components of the ICF’s complexity are analyzed: (1) health condition, (2) body functions and structures, (3) activity, (4) participation, (5) environmental factors, (6) personal factors, and (7) health. Although the ICF claims to be (...) holistic, it presupposes a monistic materialistic ontology. We indicate some limitations of this ontology, proposing instead: (a) a pluralistic–holistic ontology (PHO) and (b) a multidimensional view of the human being, with individual and environmental aspects, in relation to three levels of reality implied by the PHO. For the ICF to attain its holistic claim, the interactions between its components should be based on (a) and (b). (shrink)
This paper argues that alethic pluralism has not been successfully motivated. The strategy deployed to demonstrating this contention is to claim, first, that a deflationary version of alethic monism is the default position in the theory of truth – the theory that must be accepted unless it is defeated – and, second, that no pluralist arguments offered up to now have been sufficient to defeat it.
When talking about truth, we ordinarily take ourselves to be talking about one-and-the-same thing. Alethic monists suggest that theorizing about truth ought to begin with this default or pre-reflective stance, and, subsequently, parlay it into a set of theoretical principles that are aptly summarized by the thesis that truth is one. Foremost among them is the invariance principle.