Canadian theorists and philosophers are recognized internationally for their contributions to normative debates about citizenship, multiculturalism, and nationalism. The superb essays collected here reflect a broad range of contemporary political and philosophical issues: liberalism and citizenship; equality, justice, and gender; minority rights and identity; nationalism and self-determination; and the history of political philosophy.
This is a critical review of In the Agora: The Public Face of Canadian Philosophy. It argues that this book does not adequately represent the public face of Canadian philosophy, though it contains some first-rate contributions.
I ask whether we need African Canadian philosophy and attempt to provide an answer by considering a series of other questions that can be understood as alternative versions of the initial question. I ask (1) whether we need African Canadian philosophers; (2) whether we need philosophy focused on the African Canadian experience; (3) whether we already have African Canadian philosophy; (4) whether anybody of any background can do African Canadian philosophy; and (5) what African (...) class='Hi'>Canadian philosophy will do for us. I conclude that we do need African Canadian philosophy. (shrink)
Whatever the original intent, the introduction of the term 'thought experiment' has proved to be one of the great public relations coups of science writing, For generations of readers of scientific literature, the term has planted the seed of hope that the fragment of text they have just read is more than mundane. Because it was a thought experiment, does it not tap into that infallible font of all wisdom in empiricist science, the experiment? And because it was conducted in (...) thought, does it not miraculously escape the need for the elaborate laboratories and bloated budgets of experimental science? These questions in effect pose the epistemological problem of thought experiments in the sciences: Thought experiments are supposed to give us information about our physical world. From where can this information come? One enticing response to the problem is to imagine that thought experiments draw from some special source of knowledge of the world that transcends our ordinary epistemic resources. My purpose in this paper. (shrink)
Consider our attitude toward painful and pleasant experiences depend- ing on when they occur. A striking but rarely discussed feature of our attitude which Derek Parfit has emphasized is that we strongly wish painful experiences to lie in our past and pleasant experiences to lie in our future. Our asymmetrical attitudes toward future and past pains and pleasures can be forcefully illustrated by means of a thought-experiment described by Derek Parfit which I will paraphrase as follows.
Alberto Casullo ("Necessity, Certainty, and the A Priori", Canadian Journal of Philosophy 18, 1988) argues that arithmetical propositions could be disconfirmed by appeal to an invented scenario, wherein our standard counting procedures indicate that 2 + 2 != 4. Our best response to such a scenario would be, Casullo suggests, to accept the results of the counting procedures, and give up standard arithmetic. While Casullo's scenario avoids arguments against previous "disconfirming" scenarios, it founders on the assumption, common to scenario (...) and response, that arithmetic might be independent of standard counting procedures. Here I show, by attention to tallying as the simplest form of counting, that this assumption is incoherent: given standard counting procedures, then (on pain of irrationality) arithmetical theory follows. (shrink)
Informal logic began in the 1970s as a critique of then-current theoretical assumptions in the teaching of argument analysis and evaluation in philosophy departments in the U.S. and Canada. The last 35 years have seen significant developments in informal logic and critical thinking theory. The paper is a pilot study of the influence of these advances in theory on what is taught in courses on argument analysis and critical thinking in U.S. and Canadian philosophy departments. Its finding, provisional and (...) much-qualified, is that the theoretical developments and refinements have had limited impact on instruction in leading philosophy departments. (shrink)