In the case of an intellectually disabled patient, the attending physician was restricted from writing a Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) order. Although the rationale for this restriction was to protect the patient from an inappropriate quality of life judgment, it resulted in a worse death than the patient would have experienced had he not been disabled. Such restrictions that are intended to protect intellectually disabled patients may violate their right to equal treatment and to a dignified death.
Wilhelm Dilthey: Selected Works, Volume II: Understanding the Human World. Edited with Introduction by Rudolf A. Makkreel and Frithjof Rodi Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 471-474 DOI 10.1007/s10746-011-9197-6 Authors Eric S. Nelson, Department of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts, Lowell, MA, USA Journal Human Studies Online ISSN 1572-851X Print ISSN 0163-8548 Journal Volume Volume 34 Journal Issue Volume 34, Number 4.
The problem of reference is central to the fields of linguistics, cognitive science, and epistemology yet it remains largely unresolved. Naming and Reference explains the reference of lexical terms, with particular emphasis placed on proper names, demonstrative pronouns and personal pronouns. It examines such specific issues as: how to account for the reference of names that are empty or speculative, which abound in science and philosophy, and how to account for intentional reference as in "he took Mary to be Jane." (...) Naming and Reference begins with a survey of the history of the subject within a philosophical and critical setting, from Locke, Brentano, Peirce, Frege, Russell, Strawson, Tarski, Carnap and Quine up to Kripke and Fodor. The rest of the book is devoted to an algorithmic theory of reference derived from Peirce's idea that signification is a three-way relationship involving a term, an object and an interpretant. The theory rounds out the causal notion of reference, while at the same time preserving Frege's distinction between sense and reference, and making a place for indexical terms. Through the use of various computer models, R. J. Nelson explores the meaning and reference of words to objects and the relationship of these phenomena to perception, belief and truth. The models used are parallel, connectionist computational models rather than the sequential models of mid-century artificial intelligence. The aim, in opposition to nativist and mental representation theories, is to account for the genesis of semantically interpretable symbols, not to assume them. (shrink)
Ecological feminism (or ecofeminism) and feminist bioethics seem to have much in common. They share certain methodological and epistemological concerns, offer similar challenges to traditional philosophy, and take up a number of the same practical issues. The two disciplines have thus far had little or no direct interaction; this is one attempt to begin some conversation and perhaps stimulate some cross-pollination of ideas. The email dialogue engaged an active ecofeminist scholar, Karen Warren, and an active feminist bioethicist, Hilde Nelson, (...) in an exchange of ideas. Jessica Pierce, whose research cuts between environmental philosophy and bioethics, served as moderator. (shrink)
Signs of mankind's solidarity, by J. R. Nelson.--Mankind, Israel and the nations in the Hebraic heritage, by M. Greenberg.--Christian insights from biblical sources, by C. Maurer.--Muhammad and all men, by D. Rahbar.--The impact of New World discovery upon European thought of man, by E. J. Burrus.--The effects of colonialism upon the Asian understanding of man, by J. G. Arapura.--Religious pluralism and the quest for human community, by S. J. Samartha.--From Confucian gentleman to the new Chinese 'political' man, by D. (...) A. Robinson.--The scientific revolution and the unity of man, by B. Towers.--Language and communication, by E. A. Nida.--Man and the son of man, by J. Moltmann.--The potentiality of conciliarity: communion, conscience, council, by W. B. Blakemore.--Oneness must mean wholeness, by J. R. Nelson. (shrink)
This volume in the Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes contains his translations of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, edited by Eric Nelson. Hobbes translated the Homeric poems into English verse during the course of the 1670s, when he was already well into his eighties. These texts constitute his most extensive single undertaking, as well as his last major work. Yet, despite the explosion of interest in Hobbes over the last fifty years, this is the first modern critical (...) edition of the Homer translations. Nelson provides extensive annotation detailing Hobbes's interactions with the Greek text of the epics and with other early-modern editions and commentaries, as well a substantial scholarly introduction placing Hobbes's enterprise in the wider context of Restoration politics and poetics. Nelson also offers a detailed analysis of the translations themselves, identifying the numerous instances in which Hobbes rewrites the poems in order to bring them into alignment with his views on politics, rhetoric, aesthetics, and theology. Hobbes's Iliads and Odysses of Homer, Nelson suggests, should be regarded as a continuation of Leviathan by other means. This edition will be fascinating reading for anyone interested in early-modern political philosophy, literature, and classical studies. (shrink)
Nelson, Russ Paul's letter to the Romans highlights the significance of volunteers to the mission of Jesus in the church. Acts 18 introduces a married couple, Priscilla and Aquila, late of Rome and now of Corinth. Initially they house and employ Paul, thereby giving voluntary service to Paul. Priscilla and Aquila's generosity remains a feature of contemporary Catholicism, clearly identifiable in the parishes. As an everyday part of church life, volunteering is worthy of recognition and nurture. Contemporary ministers might (...) reflect on the development of Priscilla and Aquila as volunteers as first mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. Perhaps these two lay people were instructed by Paul around the meal table during the eighteen months they were together. Priscilla and Aquila provide an example of volunteering and the focus of this paper is on the formation of volunteers. (shrink)
NATURES AND FUTURES FOR POLITICAL THEORY John S. Nelson What are the problematics, histories, forms, aims, conditions, methods, and topics proper to political theory? Plainly, these change from one context to another; and yet they may ...
A formula is a contingent logical truth when it is true in every model M but, for some model M , false at some world of M . We argue that there are such truths, given the logic of actuality. Our argument turns on defending Tarski’s definition of truth and logical truth, extended so as to apply to modal languages with an actuality operator. We argue that this extension is the philosophically proper account of validity. We counter recent arguments to (...) the contrary presented in Hanson’s ‘Actuality, Necessity, and Logical Truth’ (Philos Stud 130:437–459, 2006 ). (shrink)
In an unpublished manuscript of 1914 titled ‘Logic in mathematics’, Gottlob Frege offered a rich account of the paradox of analysis. I argue that Frege there claims that the explicandum and explicans of a successful analysis express the same sense and that he furthermore appreciated that this requires that one cannot conclude that two sentences differ in sense simply because it is possible for a (minimally) competent speaker to accept one without accepting the other. I claim that this is shown (...) by Frege’s suggestive remarks about a cloudy grasp of a sense. I then argue that this fact calls into question a key assumption behind Frege’s master argument for the sense/reference distinction. (shrink)
I present a problem for a prominent kind of conservatism, viz., the combination of traditional moral & religious values, patriotic nationalism, and libertarian capitalism. The problem is that these elements sometimes conflict. In particular, I show how libertarian capitalism and patriotic nationalism conflict via a scenario in which the thing that libertarian capitalists love – unregulated market activity – threatens what American patriots love – a strong, independent America. Unrestricted libertarian rights to buy and sell land would permit the sale (...) of all American territory by private individuals to foreign powers. Patriotic nationalists regard this as outrageous, but libertarian capitalists cannot refuse it. (shrink)
Isaiah Berlin's distinction between "negative" and "positive" concepts of liberty has recently been defended on new and interesting grounds. Proponents of this dichotomy used to equate positive liberty with "self-mastery "-the rule of our rational nature over ourpassions and impulses. However, Berlin's critics have made the case that this account does not employ a separate "concept" of liberty: although the constraints it envisions are internal, rather than external, forces, the freedom in question remains "negative" (freedom is still seen as the (...) absence of such impediments). Responding to this development, Berlin's defenders have increasingly tended to identify positive liberty with "self-realization." The argument is that such an account of freedom is genuinely "nonnegative," in that it does not refer to the absence of constraints on action. This essay argues that the claims made on behalf of "freedom as self-realization" cannot withstand scrutiny, and that they fail to isolate a coherent view of liberty that is distinguishable from the absence of constraint. (shrink)
Alexander Miller has recently considered an ingenious extension of Frank Jackson and Philip Pettit's account of 'program explanation' as a way of defending non-reductive naturalist versions of moral realism against Harman's explanatory criticism. Despite the ingenuity of this extension, Miller concludes that program explanation cannot help such moral realists in their attempt to defend moral properties. Specifically, he argues that such moral program explanations are dispensable from an epistemically unlimited point of view. I show that Miller's argument for this negative (...) claim is inadequate, and that he has, in spite of himself, identified a promising defence of moral realism. (shrink)
Karen Bennett has recently argued that the views articulated by Linsky and Zalta (Philos Perspect 8:431–458, 1994) and (Philos Stud 84:283–294, 1996) and Plantinga (The nature of necessity, 1974) are not consistent with the thesis of actualism, according to which everything is actual. We present and critique her arguments. We first investigate the conceptual framework she develops to interpret the target theories. As part of this effort, we question her definition of ‘proxy actualism’. We then discuss her main arguments that (...) the theories carry a commitment to actual entities that do not exist. We end by considering and addressing a worry that might have been the driving force behind Bennett’s claim that Linsky and Zalta’s view is not fully actualistic. (shrink)
This paper is concerned with the normative content of Kant's formula of humanity (FH). More specifically, does FH, as some seem to think, imply the specific and rigid prescriptions in 'standard' deontological theories? To this latter question, I argue, the answer is 'no'. I propose reading FH largely through the formula of autonomy and the formula of the kingdom of ends, where I understand FA to describe the nature of the capacity of humanity-a capacity for self-governance. The latter, I suggest, (...) is akin to the capacity for planning and intentional action described in Michael Bratman's work. A significant part of what FH requires, I then propose, is that we exercise these capacities for planning in such a way that we accommodate and coordinate with the (permissible) plans and intentions of others. Kant himself, as do many commentators, emphasizes the idea that our human capacities give us a distinctive kind of value. On my interpretation, by contrast, what is fundamentally important is not the value of the capacities but rather what they make possible: distinctive ways of mistreating (using) persons, but also a distinctive kind of morally desirable relationship. CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
The report of the President's Council on Bioethics, Human Cloning and Human Dignity, addresses the central ethical, political, and policy issue in human embryonic stem cell research: the moral status of extracorporeal human embryos. The Council members were in sharp disagreement on this issue and essentially failed to adequately engage and respectfully acknowledge each others' deepest moral concerns, despite their stated commitment to do so. This essay provides a detailed critique of the two extreme views on the Council (i.e., embryos (...) have full moral status or they have none at all) and then gives theoretical grounding for our judgment about the intermediate moral status of embryos. It also supplies an account of how to address profound moral disagreements in the public arena, especially by way of constructing a middle ground that deliberately pays sincere respect to the views of those with whom it has deep disagreements. (shrink)
In ethics, it is commonly supposed that we have both positive duties and negative duties, things we ought to do and things we ought not to do. Given the many parallels between ethics and epistemology, we might suppose that the same is true in epistemology, and that we have both positive epistemic duties and negative epistemic duties. I argue that this is false; that is, that we have negative epistemic duties, but no positive ones. There are things that we ought (...) not to believe, but there is nothing that we ought to believe, on purely epistemic grounds. I also consider why the parallels between ethics and epistemology break down at this particular point, suggesting that it is due to what I call the infinite justificational ‘fecundity’ of perceptual and propositional evidence. (shrink)
An epistemic theory of democracy, I assume, is meant to provide on answer to the question of why democracy is desirable. It does so by trying to show how the democratic process can have epistemic value. I begin by describing a couple of examples of epistemic theories in the literature and bringing out what they presuppose. I then examine a particular type of theory, worked out most thoroughly by Joshua Cohen, which seems to imply that democracy has epistemic value. The (...) key idea in this theory is that its conception of political right is itself a democratic conception – roughly, what is right is constituted by a consensus among ideal democratic agents. If democratic procedures are modeled on this conception of right, the theory proposes, the fact that we follow these procedures in decision-making will give us reason to believe that the outcomes are themselves right. I do not reject the democratic conception of the right, but I argue that the theory breaks down when we try to extend its conclusions to real-world democratic procedures. While it invites interesting speculation about possible reforms, it gives us little reason to accept the outcomes of actual democratic politics. (shrink)
Pierre Trémaux’s 1865 ideas on speciation have been unjustly derided following his acceptance by Marx and rejection by Engels, and almost nobody has read his ideas in a charitable light. Here we offer an interpretation based on translating the term sol as “habitat”, in order to show that Trémaux proposed a theory of allopatric speciation before Wagner and a punctuated equilibrium theory before Gould and Eldredge, and translate the relevant discussion from the French. We believe he may have influenced Darwin’s (...) revision to the third edition of the Origin on rates of evolution, and suggest that Gould’s dismissal of Trémaux is motivated by concern that others might think punctuated equilibrium theory was tainted by a connection with Trémaux. (shrink)
In this article I show that the argument in John Harris's famous "Survival Lottery" paper cannot be right. Even if we grant Harris's assumptions—of the justifiability of such a lottery, the correctness of maximizing consequentialism, the indistinguishability between killing and letting die, the practical and political feasibility of such a scheme—the argument still will not yield the conclusion that Harris wants. On his own terms, the medically needy should be less favored (and more vulnerable to being killed), than Harris suggests.
A long series of studies in social psychology have shown that the explanations people give for their own behaviors are fundamentally different from the explanations they give for the behaviors of others. Still, a great deal of uncertainty remains about precisely what sorts of differences one finds here. We offer a new approach to addressing the problem. Specifically, we distinguish between two levels of representation ─ the level of linguistic structure (which consists of the actual series of words used in (...) the explanation) and the level of conceptual structure (which consists of the concepts these words are used to express). We then formulate and test hypotheses both about self-other differences in conceptual structure and about self-other differences in the mapping from conceptual structure to linguistic structure. (shrink)
I define ethical intuitionism as the view that it is appropriate to appeal to inferentially unsupported moral beliefs in the course of moral reasoning. I mention four common objections to this view, including the view that all such appeals to intuitionism collapse into “subjectivism”, i.e., that they make truth in ethical theory depend on what people believe. I defend intuitionism from versions of this criticism expressed by R.M. Hare and Peter Singer.
Propositional attitude ascribing sentences seem to give rise to failures of substitution. Is this phenomena best accounted for semantically, by constructing a semantics for propositional attitude ascribing sentences that invalidates the Substitution Principle, or pragmatically? In this paper I argue against semantic accounts of such phenomena. I argue that any semantic theory that respects all our apparent substitution failure intuitions will entail that the noun-phrase position outside the scope of the attitude verb is not open to substitution salva veritate, which (...) is counter-intuitive. (shrink)
Save for Anthropologists, few social scientists have been among the participants in the discussions about the appropriate structure of a ‘Universal Darwinism’. Yet evolutionary theorizing about cultural, social, and economic phenomena has a long tradition, going back well before Darwin. And over the past quarter century significant literatures have grown up concerned with the processes of change operating on science, technology, business organization and practice, and economic change more broadly, that are explicitly evolutionary in theoretical orientation. In each of these (...) fields of study, the broad proposition put forth by Darwin that change proceeds through a process involving variation, systematic selection, renewed variation... has proved both persuasive and powerful. On the other hand, the evolutionary processes involved in these areas differ in essential ways from those we now know are operative in the evolution of biological species. The objective of this essay is to highlight those differences, which a ‘Universal Darwinism’ needs to encompass, if it is to be broad enough to be a theory that is applicable to the evolution of human cultures as well as evolution in biology. (shrink)
This paper examines the relationship between modern theories of microeconomics and macroeconomics and, more generally, it evaluates the prospects of theoretically reducing macroeconomics to microeconomics. Many economists have shown strong interest in providing "microfoundations" for macroeconomics and much of their work is germane to the issue of theoretical reduction. Especially relevant is the work that has been done on what is called The Problem of Aggregation. On some accounts, The Problem of Aggregation just is the problem of reducing macroeconomics to (...) microeconomics. I show how to separate these problems and then try to determine to what extent particular kinds of solutions to The Problem of Aggregation succeed in reducing macroeconomics to microeconomics as well. I argue that reduction is not possible by this means given the current state of microeconomics. I also describe how reduction may be possible by means of (dis)aggregation if microeconomics is supplemented in a certain way with the results of experimental research on individual economic agents. (shrink)
Consequentialist reasoning and neoclassical assumptions about perfectly competitive markets encourage business school faculty and students to overlook the role of ethics in a market system. In a perfectly competitive economy, self-interest suffices to bring about a desirable outcome. However, discrepancies between an economist''s assumptions and the realities of a market economy establish a need for business ethics. This essay, written as a lecture for MBA students, first reviews Pareto optimality as an argument in favor of market allocations. It then uses (...) the discrepancies between actual and hypothetical markets to derive a Rawlsian duty of civility. This neoclassical case for business ethics requires individuals to avoid exploiting the defects that are inevitable in any social structure. (shrink)
: A fascinating criticism of abortion occasioned by prenatal diagnosis of potentially disabling traits is that the complex of test-and-abortion sends a morally disparaging message to people living with disabilities. I have argued that available versions of this "expressivist" argument are inadequate on two grounds. The most fundamental is that, considered as a practice, abortions prompted by prenatal testing are not semantically well-behaved enough to send any particular message; they do not function as signs in a rule-governed symbol system. Further, (...) even granting, for the sake of argument, the expressive power of testing and aborting, it would not be possible, contra the argument's proponents, to distinguish between abortions undertaken because of beliefs about the disabling conditions the fetus might face as a child and abortions undertaken for many other possible reasons--e.g., because of the poverty the fetus would face or the increase in family size that the birth of a new child would occasion. Here, I respond to criticisms of those arguments, and propose and defend another: the expressivist argument cannot, in general, distinguish successfully between abortion and therapy as modalities for responding to disabilities. (shrink)
Why have so many philosophers agonised over the possibility of valid arguments from factual premises to moral conclusions? I suggest that they have done so, because of worries over a sceptical argument that has as one of its premises, `All moral knowledge must be non-inferential, or, if inferential, based on valid arguments or strong inductive arguments from factual premises'. I argue that this premise is false.
: The feminist ethic of care has often been criticized for its inability to address four problems--the problem of exploitation as it threatens care givers, the problem of sustaining care-giver integrity, the dangers of conceiving the mother-child dyad normatively as a paradigm for human relationships, and the problem of securing social justice on a broad scale among relative strangers. We argue that there are resources within the ethic of care for addressing each of these problems, and we sketch strategies for (...) developing the ethic more fully. (shrink)
A number of recent discussions about ethical issues in climate change, as engaged in by economists, have focused on the value of the parameter representing the rate of time preference within models of optimal growth. This essay examines many economists' antipathy to serious discussion of ethical matters, and suggests that the avoidance of questions of intergenerational equity is related to another set of value judgments concerning the quality and objectivity of economic practice. Using insights from feminist philosophy of science and (...) research on high reliability organizations, this essay argues that a more ethically transparent, real-world-oriented, and flexible economic practice would lead to more strongly objective, reliable, and useful knowledge. (shrink)
The functional theory of memory set out in Glenberg's target article accords with recent proposals in the developmental literature with respect to event memory, conceptualization, and language acquisition from an embodied, experiential view. The theory, however, needs to be supplemented with a recognition of the sociocultural contribution to these cognitive processes and emerging structures.
Are there good arguments from Is to Ought? Toomas Karmo has claimed that there are trivially valid arguments from Is to Ought, but no sound ones. I call into question some key elements of Karmo’s argument for the “logical autonomy of ethics”, and show that attempts to use it as part of an overall case for moral skepticism would be self-defeating.
Brief cases written as multiple choice questions can provide the basis for a classroom game based on business ethics. This teaching note describes the organization of such a game and provides five sample cases.
I begin by asking the meta-epistemological question, 'What is justification?', analogous to the meta-ethical question, 'What is rightness?' I introduce the possibility of non-cognitivist, naturalist, non-naturalist, and eliminativist answers in meta-epistemology,corresponding to those in meta-ethics. I devote special attention to the naturalistic hypothesis that epistemic justification is identical to probability, showing its antecedent plausibility. I argue that despite this plausibility, justification cannot be identical with probability, under the standard interpretation of the probability calculus, for the simple reason that justification can (...) increase indefinitely but probability cannot. I then propose an alternative model for prima facie justification, based on an analogy with Ross's account of prima facie obligation, arguing that this model illuminates the differences between justification and probability and, given the plausible assumption of epistemic pluralism, explains them as well. (shrink)
What if human joy (more technically, utility) went on endlessly? Suppose, for example, that each human generation were followed by another, or that the Western religions are right when they teach that each human being lives eternally after death. If any such possibility is true in the actual world, then an agent might sometimes be so situated that more than one course of action would produce an infinite amount of utility (or of disutility, or of both). Deciding whether to have (...) a child born this year rather than next is a situation wherein an agent may face several alternatives whose effects could well ramify endlessly on such suppositions, for the child born this year would be a different person—one who preferred different things, performed different actions, and had different descendants—from a child born next year. It has recently been suggested that traditional utilitarianism stumbles on such cases of infinite utility. Specifically, utilitarianism seems to require, for its application, that all experience of pleasure and pain cease at some time in the future or asymptotically approach zero. If neither of these conditions holds, then the utility (and disutility) produced by each of two alternative actions may turn out to be infinite, and utilitarianism thus loses its ability to discriminate morally between them. (shrink)
Our objective is to understand how parents and children perceive their roles in decision making about research participation. Forty-five children (ages 4-15 years) with or without a chronic condition and 21 parents were the participants. A semistructured interview assessed perceptions of up to 4 hypothetical research scenarios with varying levels of risk, benefit, and complexity. Children were also administered the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Third Edition, to assess verbal ability, as a proxy for the child's cognitive development. The audiotaped interviews (...) were transcribed and analyzed for themes related to parent and child decision-making roles. Both parents and children varied in their perceptions of decision-making roles. Child perceptions of parental influence on decision making as knowledge-based increased with cognitive development, whereas perceptions of parental influence as power-based decreased. Both children and parents commented that they would collaborate with each other when making decisions. Collaborative decision making appeared to increase with cognitive development. These findings suggest that approaches to child assent and parent permission should consider the parent-child relationship and how children and families typically make decisions. Future research is necessary to explain variation in the process of research decision making across children and families, explore the role of collaboration on children's decision-making skills, and understand developmental trajectories and mechanisms related to research decision making. (shrink)
It has recently been argued by Miller and Truog (2008) that, while procuring vital organs from transplant donors is typically the cause of their deaths, this violation of the requirement that donors be dead prior to the removal of their organs is not a cause for moral concern. In general terms, I endorse this heterodox conclusion, but for different and, as I think, more powerful reasons. I end by arguing that, even if it is agreed that retrieval of vital organs (...) causes the deaths of those who provide them, that does not pose any new substantive difficulties for efforts to justify “opt-out” organ procurement systems. (shrink)
It is obvious that technology is rapidly changing the world around us. Nowhere is that change more evident than in the revolution occurring for those with physical and mental limitations-their portrayal in the media, their use of the media to achieve group aims and their use of the new on-line media to communicate with others who have limitations and the non-disabled world. In a very real way the growing sense of community among those with disabilities has been linked to the (...) media. (shrink)
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong's recent defense of moral skepticism raises the debate to a new level, but I argue that it is unsatisfactory because of problems with its assumption of global skepticism, with its use of the Skeptical Hypothesis Argument, and with its use of the idea of contrast classes and the correlative distinction between "everyday" justification and "philosophical" justification. I draw on Chisholm's treatment of the Problem of the Criterion to show that my claim that I know that, e.g., baby-torture is (...) wrong, is no more question-begging than Sinnott-Armstrong's denial that I know this. (shrink)
I define ethical intuitionism as the view that it is appropriate to appeal to inferentially unsupported moral beliefs in the course of moral reasoning. I mention four common objections to this view, including the view that all such appeals to intuition make ethical theory politically and noetically conservative. I defend intuitionism from versions of this criticism expressed by R.B. Brandt, R.M. Hare and Richard Miller.
I follow Hájek (Synthese 137:273–323, 2003c) by taking objective probability to be a function of two propositional arguments—that is, I take conditional probability as primitive. Writing the objective probability of q given r as P(q, r), I argue that r may be chosen to provide less than a complete and exact description of the world’s history or of its state at any time. It follows that nontrivial objective probabilities are possible in deterministic worlds and about the past. A very simple (...) chance–credence relation is also then natural, namely that reasonable credence equals objective probability. In other words, we should set our actual credence in a proposition equal to the proposition’s objective probability conditional on available background information. One advantage of that approach is that the background information is not subject to an admissibility requirement, as it is in standard formulations of the Principal Principle. Another advantage is that the “undermining” usually thought to follow from Humean supervenience can be avoided. Taking objective probability to be a two-argument function is not merely a technical matter, but provides us with vital flexibility in addressing significant philosophical issues. (shrink)
Three points extend the authors' comprehensive and provocative argument: (1) The idea of “entering a community of minds” is suggested to replace theory of mind or social understanding; (2) learning words and concepts through a Wittgensteinian process often involves a period of “use without meaning”; (3) concepts based in social interaction are achieved through collaborative – neither individual nor social alone – construction.
During 2006, a total of 130,527 Americans spent time on organ waiting lists; 7,191 of them died waiting. According to the U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, 104,778 people are awaiting organs as this is being written (www.optn.org/data/; accessed November 4, 2009); every ninety minutes or so, one of them will die.In Spain, however, waiting list time is much shorter, and accordingly, very few die for the want of an organ; roughly thirty-five people per million provide organs in Spain upon (...) their deaths, a rate that dwarfs participation in the United States (usually cited at roughly twenty-two people per million)—and close to everywhere else as well. Among the benefits reaped by the Spanish: during .. (shrink)
A certain pupil with the vaguely Kafkaesque name B has mastered the series of natural numbers. B's new task is to learn how to write down other series of cardinal numbers and right now, we're working on the series "+2." After a bit, B seems to catch on, but we are unusually thorough teachers and keep him at it. Things are going just fine until he reaches 1000. Then, quite confounding us, he writes 1004, 1008, 1012."We say to him: 'Look (...) what you've done!'—He doesn't understand. We say: 'You were meant to add two: look how you began the series!'—He answers: 'Yes, isn't it right? I thought that was how I was meant to do it.'"1B may be an "abnormal learner," but he's not unique among learners in literature. Another .. (shrink)
Bertrand Russell famously disparaged Thomas Aquinas as having ‘little of the true philosophic spirit’, because ‘he does not, like the Platonic Socrates, set out to follow wherever the argument may lead.’ Like many of Russell's pronouncements, this is breathtakingly supercilious and unfair. Still, even an enthusiastic admirer of Aquinas may worry that there is something in it, that there is something wrong with religious ‘commitments’ in philosophy. I examine Russell's objection by comparing standards of permissibility in epistemology with standards of (...) permissibility in ethics, where these issues are better understood. I conclude that the epistemic standard behind Russell's criticism is no less contentious in epistemology than, say, direct utilitarianism is in ethics. (shrink)
In this paper, it is argued that both the belief state and its input should be represented as epistemic entrenchment (EE) relations. A belief revision operation is constructed that updates a given EE relation to a new one in light of an evidential EE relation, and an axiomatic characterization of this operation is given. Unlike most belief revision operations, the one developed here can handle both multiple belief revision and iterated belief revision.
Cross-domain representations provide the foundation for language and are not its unique product. Modularity of a limited kind is confined to early infancy in humans and is succeeded by domain-general thinking and speaking. Representational language becomes accessible to the cognitive system during the preschool years as a supplement to experientially based conceptual processing, resulting in a dual-process system.
Throughout his authorship, Kierkegaard appears remarkably uninterested in the tradition of Christian mysticism. Indeed, in the only two places in the authorship where he broaches the topic directly, the discussion is disclaimed in such a way as to suggest that Kierkegaard really has nothing to say about it at all. However, attending to the successive incarnations of the character(s) named “Ludvig” throughout the authorship – an appellation that harbors an especially self-referential dimension for Kierkegaard – the present paper attempts to (...) elucidate what may, with due reservation, be referred to as the mystical element in Kierkegaard’s thought. The ultimate yield of this endeavor is a vision of “mysticism” that is more act than thought oriented, and a vision of the author “Kierkegaard” that is more delightful than melancholy. (shrink)
I try out a tentative hypothesis in speculative philosophy, by sketching a theory of value modelled on John Locke's theory of acquisition. I argue that this theory has all the advantages of Locke's theory of acquisition, but few of its disadvantages. Moreover, it allows us to reconcile two attractive, but apparently incompatible, ideas about value: the real-value idea (that animals, plants, artifacts, and landscapes really are valuable) and the subject-dependence idea (that things have value only in relation to experiencing subjects). (...) As a theory of value, it may be interesting in its own right, but I also argue that it may be of particular interest to theists. (shrink)